Juan Gris

Juan Gris

Spanish, 1887-1927
Guitar and Glasses, 1914
Metropolitan Museum of Art

Visual art and music today seem inherently intertwined. Music videos of musicians garbed in theatrical costumes or outlandish fashion have all become common place. Of course this present-day art form could readily be traced to Hollywood and stage musicals, which in turn are offshoot of the opera. Paintings and reliefs celebrating musicians go back to the Egyptians and perhaps even earlier. History, music and visual art, in other words, inevitably harmonize each other.

In grazing about the rich pastures of art museums in three continents, I’ve photographed dozens of masterpieces illustrating the evolution of music itself across time. For instance, the lute as you will see in these paintings was the staple stringed instrument of the Renaissance through the Baroque Period. The other instrument painted by masters that time has forgotten is the lyre. Like a character fatally wounded in an opera, the lute suddenly disappeared by the mid to late nineteenth century and has since been replaced by the guitar in modern paintings.

Trivial as this may all seem, this collection of masterpieces—by Caravaggio, Vermeer, Corot, Renoir, Degas, Picasso, Braque, Matisse, to name a few— is a fine example of visual art serving as a vital vessel of history, a time capsule if you will, that delivers images and information that we would otherwise have not grasped.

Posted by >docjfw on 2013-01-26 16:07:31

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