1st Edition

Art, Music, and Mysticism at the Fin-de-siècle Seeing and Hearing the Beyond

Edited By Corrinne Chong, Michelle Foot Copyright 2024
    248 Pages 21 Color & 53 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This edited volume explores the dialogue between art and music with that of mystical currents at the turn of the twentieth century.

    The volume draws on the most current research from both art historians and musicologists to present an interdisciplinary approach to the study of mysticism’s historical importance. The chapters in this edited volume gauge the scope of different interpretations of mysticism and illuminate how an exchange between the sister arts unveil an underlying stream of metaphysical, supernatural, and spiritual ideas over the course of the century. Case studies include Charles Tournemire, Joseph Péladan, Erik Satie, Hilma af Klint, Jean Sibelius, František Kupka, and Wassily Kandinsky. The contributors’ unique theoretical perspectives and disciplinary methodologies offer expert insight on both the rewards and inevitable aesthetic complications that arise when one artform meets another.

    The book will be of interest to scholars working in art history, musicology, visual culture, and mysticism.

    Aspiring Towards the Absolute

    Corrinne Chong and Michelle Foot


    Setting the Stage: A Symbolist Prelude

    1. Music and Aesthetic Liturgy in Symbolist Art Salons: The Cases of Joséphin Péladan and Jean Delville

    Lucien Midavaine


    2. Deathbed Conversions, Troglodytes, and Baths for the Brain: Mysticism in the Fin-de-siècle Historical Imagination

    Tadhg Sauvey


    3. “En blanc et immobile”: Erik Satie, Mysticism and Whiteness

    Caroline Potter


    4. “Josephin ‘Sâr’ Péladan, Charles Tournemire, and Apocalyptic Mysticism

    Robert Sholl


    Synaesthesia in Scandinavia

    5. Musical Interaction with Finnish Visual Arts: The Composer Jean Sibelius, and Artists Akseli Gallen-Kallela, Oscar Parviainen and Ellen Thesleff

    Anna-Maria von Bonsdorff


    6. Sexing Parsifal: Gendered Synaesthesia and Transpositions in Hilma af Klint’s Abstraction

    Jadra Ryle


    Vibrations, Abstraction, and Tonality: Giving Sound Form

    7. George Frederic Watts’s “Mesmeric Dolls”: Music and Theosophy in the Painter’s Late Works

    Spyros Petritakis


    8. Composing “Symmorphies”: Chromatism, Astral Vision and Music of the Spheres in František Kupka’s Cosmological Modernism

    Fae Brauer


    9. Ringing Cosmos, Returning Souls: Expressions of the Beyond in Webern’s

    Five Pieces for Orchestra Op. 10 and Kandinsky’s All Saints Day Paintings

    Elizabeth T. Abbate


    10. Music as Key to the Beyond: Steiner and Kandinsky’s Scenic Compositions against Materialism

    David Picquart


    11. Tonality and (the) “Beyond”: Elgar’s Gerontius and String Quartet Piacevole

    Oliver Chandler



    Corrinne Chong is Assistant Curator at the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia, USA.

    Michelle Foot, PhD, is Lecturer in Nineteenth-Century Art at the University of Edinburgh.