Music and Visual Culture in Renaissance Italy

13-15 June 2019

Humanities Research Institute, University of Sheffield, UK


Flora Dennis (Sussex)

Nicoletta Guidobaldi (Bologna)

Francois Quiviger (Warburg)

*Programme, abstracts, and registration now live.*

Visual representations of music were ubiquitous in Renaissance Italy.
Church interiors were enlivened by altarpieces representing biblical and
heavenly musicians, placed in conjunction with the ritual song of the
liturgy. The interior spaces of palaces and private houses, in which
musical recreations were routine, were adorned with paintings depicting
musical characters and myths of the ancient world, and with scenes of
contemporary festivity in which music played a central role. Musical
luminaries and dilettantes commissioned portraits symbolising their
personal and social investment in musical expertise and skill.

Such images both reflected and sustained a musical culture. The strategies
adopted by visual artists when depicting music in any guise betray period
understandings of music shared by artists and their clients. At the same
time, Renaissance Italians experienced music within a visual environment
that prompted them to think about music in particular ways.

This conference will address visual media relevant to music, and written
discourse revealing interactions between visual and musical practices, from
the late 14th to the early 17th century in Italy.


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