Music and Visual Culture in Renaissance Italy  book cover
1st Edition

Music and Visual Culture in Renaissance Italy

  • Available for pre-order on April 14, 2023. Item will ship after May 5, 2023
ISBN 9780367465391
May 5, 2023 Forthcoming by Routledge
344 Pages 25 Color & 72 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

The essays in this volume explore the relationship between music and art in the Italian Renaissance across the long sixteenth century, considering an era when music-making was both a subject of Italian painting and a central metaphor in treatises on the arts. Beginning in the fifteenth century, transformations emerge in the depiction of music within visual arts, the conceptualization of music in ethics and poetics, and in the practice of musical harmony. This book brings together contributors from across music and art history to consider the trajectories of these changes and the connections between them, both in theory and in the practices of everyday life.

In sixteen chapters, the contributors blend iconographic analysis with a wider range of approaches, investigate the discourse surrounding the arts, and draw on both social art history and the material turn in Renaissance studies. They address not only paintings and sculpture, but a wide range of visual media and domestic objects, from instruments to tableware, to reveal a rich, varied, and sometimes tumultuous exchange among musical and visual arts and ideas. Enriching our understanding of the subtle intersections between visual, material, and musical arts across the long Renaissance, this book offers new insights for scholars of music, art, and cultural history.

Table of Contents


Chriscinda Henry and Tim Shephard


Knowledge and Practice Across Disciplines

1. "A Body Composed of Many Parts": The Concept of Harmony in Leonardo da Vinci’s Paragone

David E. Cohen 

2. Aporia and the Harmonious Subject

Tim Shephard

3. Singing Sibyls: Music, Inspiration, Labour, and Art on the Sistine Chapel Ceiling

Barnaby Nygren

4. Musical Self-Portraits by Garofalo, Anguissola, and Fontana

Samantha Chang

5. Dangerous Music at the Accademia di San Luca and Federico Zuccaro’s "Art" of Censorship

Leslie Korrick

6. Il Figino and the Paragone

Antonio Cascelli

7. The Tuning Figure in Early Modern Art 1350-1700

Francois Quiviger

8. The Flow of Time and Feelings in Evaristo Baschenis’ Still Lifes with Instruments

Gioia Filocamo


Cultures of Everyday Life

9. The Iconography of Dancing on Renaissance Wedding Chests

Jasmine Marie Chiu

10. Visible and Invisible Musical Paths in Federico da Montefeltro's Gubbio Studiolo

Nicoletta Guidobadi

11. The Convergence of Sacred and Secular in Vittore Carpaccio’s British Museum Concert

Chriscinda Henry

12. The Artist and Artistry of the "Capirola Lutebook"

Victor Coelho

13. No Country for Old Men? Aging and Men’s Musicianship in Italian Renaissance Art

Sanna Raninen

14. Music, the Visual and the Material in an Italian Renaissance Basin

Flora Dennis

15. Fantastic Finials: Carved Scrolls and Headstocks of Renaissance Stringed Instruments

Emanuela Vai

16. The "Author’s Portrait" in Early Modern Italian Music Books

Massimo Privitera


Antonio Cascelli is Associate Professor of Music at Maynooth University. He has contributed to The Routledge Companion to Music and Visual Culture. His article on Monteverdi's Combattimento was published in the Cambridge Opera Journal and an article on Monteverdi's Orfeo in Philomusica Online. He is co-editor, together with Denis Condon, of Experiencing Music and Visual Cultures: Threshold, Intermediality, Synchresis (Routledge, 2021).


Samantha Chang is a PhD Candidate from the Graduate Department of Art at University of Toronto and a Visiting Research Student in the Department of Music at the University of Sheffield. Samantha holds a Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship (CGS) Doctoral Award, a Faculty of Arts and Science Top (FAST) Doctoral Fellowship, and a Mary H. Beatty Fellowship. A professional flutist and conductor, Samantha graduated from the Royal Academy of Music in London and she is a fellow of Trinity College London and the London College of Music. Samantha’s research explores the conceptual relationships between visual arts and music in the early modern period, specifically those of artistic identity, temporality, synaesthesia, and performativity. Her current research project examines the representation of music in the painter’s studio.


David E. Cohen, a musicologist by training, is a Senior Research Scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics in Frankfurt. He has published extensively on the speculative tradition in music theory, and especially on concepts of harmony, consonance and dissonance.


Jasmine Marie Chiu is a doctoral student in the History of Art at the University of Oxford. She holds a Master’s degree in the History of Art and Visual Culture from the University Oxford and BA in Art History and Dance from Stanford University. Her graduate research focuses on the dynamic relationship between the practice and iconography of dancing during the Italian Renaissance. For many years, Jasmine has been actively involved in dance performance, choreography, teaching, and scholarship both in the United States and abroad.


Victor Coelho is Professor of Music and Director of the Centre for Early Music Studies at Boston University. His latest books are (with Keith Polk) Instrumentalists and Renaissance Culture: Players of Function and Fantasy, 1420-1600 (Cambridge, 2016) and the forthcoming Cambridge Companion to the Rolling Stones. He is lutenist and co-director of the group Il Furioso, and has recorded music by Kapsberger, Castaldi, and Handel for the British label Toccata Classics.


Flora Dennis is Head of Art History and a Senior Lecturer at the University of Sussex. After completing a doctorate in musicology at the University of Cambridge (2002), she held a five-year fellowship at the AHRC Centre for the Study of the Domestic Interior, jointly run by the V&A, the Royal College of Art and Royal Holloway, University of London (2001–6). She co-curated the major V&A exhibition At Home in Renaissance Italy (2006–7) and co-edited its accompanying book. She has been awarded research fellowships by Villa I Tatti, the Harvard Center for Italian Renaissance Studies, Florence; the Italian Academy, Columbia University, New York; the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin; and the AHRC. She has published extensively on music, sound, objects and interiors in fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Italy.


Gioia Filocamo teaches at the Istituto superiore di Studi musicali di Terni, and is currently a Fellow at the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study, Uppsala. After receiving her PhD in the Philology of Music at the University of Pavia-Cremona (2001) she held post-doctoral research fellowships in Bologna (University), Chicago (Newberry Library), Wolfenbüttel (Herzog August Bibliothek), and a scholarship at St John’s College, Cambridge. In 2015 she received a PhD in Modern History at the University of Bologna. She has published extensively on various aspects of musical life in Italy between the fifteenth and seventeenth centuries.


Nicoletta Guidobaldi has been Professor of Musicology at the University of Bologna since 2002, following an appointment as Maître de Conférences and Fellow of the Centre d’Etudes Supérieures de la Renaissance (CESR) at Tours University. Her research interests focus on music iconography and on the cultural history and aesthetics of music during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period. She leads the research project Musical Images and Sounds in Courtly Residences of Renaissance Italy, including the strand Studiolo di Gubbio: Ricostruzione digitale e sonora di un microcosmo umanistico. She co-edits the journal Imago Musicae, and serves as co-chair of the IMS Study Group on Musical Iconography.


Chriscinda Henry is Associate Professor of Art History at McGill University in Montréal. Her research focuses on the relationship between secular art, social life, and the history of collecting in Renaissance Europe, and she recently published a book on this subject, Playful Pictures: Art, Leisure, and Entertainment in the Venetian Renaissance Home (Pennsylvania State University Press, 2021). The book maps connections between visual art, vernacular fiction, secular music, and the comic theater in Venice between around 1490 and 1540. Her recent research has been supported by Villa I Tatti, the Harvard Center for Italian Renaissance Studies, Florence; the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada; the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation; and the Fonds de recherche du Québec.


Leslie Korrick is Associate Professor in the Department of Visual Art and Art History, School of the Arts, Media, Performance and Design, at York University, Toronto where she also holds appointments in the graduate programs in Art History & Visual Culture and Science & Technology Studies. Published in such journals as Word & Image and Early Music, her research focusses on intersections between the arts; constructions of culture through art forms, urban spaces, collecting, and display; art-science relations; and sound art. She is currently completing a book on relations between Italian painting and music in Early Modern theory and practice, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada; related essays appear in The Sounds and Sights of Performance in Medieval and Renaissance Music and Art and Music in the Early Modern Period, both published by Routledge. 


Barnaby Nygren received his PhD from Harvard University and is currently Associate Professor of Art History at Loyola University Maryland. He has published on a variety of topics including perspective and humour in art. His most recent work, forthcoming in two edited books and in Word and Image, has looked at the wildly diverse topics of the grotesque in early colonial Mexico and the artistic thought of Michelangelo. 


Massimo Privitera is Professor of Musicology at the University of Palermo. His research is chiefly focused on the sixteenth- to seventeenth-century Italian madrigal. He has edited Frescobaldi’s madrigals (with Lorenzo Bianconi), Orazio Vecchi’s six-voice canzonette (with Rossana Dalmonte), and the madrigals of Achille Falcone. He has published articles on Marenzio, Monteverdi, Vecchi, Celano, and a monograph on Arcangelo Corelli; and has ongoing research on the birth and development of the opus number. He also works on music and painting, the song, and the musical on the cinema screen. He is a vocalist, arranger and choir-director.


François Quiviger is a Fellow of the Warburg Institute, University of London, where he previously worked as a librarian, curator of digital resources, researcher and teacher. He has written on Renaissance art theories, academies, wine, banquets, and the history and representation of sensation in early modern art.


Sanna Raninen is a Research Fellow at Uppsala University and the Finnish Literature Society, conducting a project funded by the Kone Foundation on the material culture of music books in post-Reformation Sweden. Previously she was a Research Associate for the Leverhulme-funded project "Music in the Art of Renaissance Italy" at the University of Sheffield, and she completed her PhD at the University of Manchester as part of the AHRC-funded project "Production and Reading of Music Sources 1480–1530," focussing on the production methods and use of printed sources of polyphony during the early sixteenth century.


Tim Shephard is Professor of Musicology at the University of Sheffield, and simultaneously holds a status-only appointment as Associate Professor in History of Art at the University of Toronto. He is the (co-)author or co-editor of numerous books and articles on music and visual culture, including the Routledge Companion to Music and Visual Culture (2014), and Music in the Art of Renaissance Italy 1420-1540 (Harvey Miller, 2020). He has led two major projects funded by the Leverhulme Trust: "Music in the Art of Renaissance Italy" (2014-17), and "Sounding the Bookshelf 1501: Music in a Year of Italian Printed Books" (2020-23).


Emanuela Vai is the Scott Opler Fellow at Worcester College and Lecturer with the Faculties of History and Music at the University of Oxford. Previously, she held positions at the University of Cambridge; at the Centre for Renaissance and Early Modern Studies at the University of York (CREMS); at the Royal Academy of Music Museum; and at Villa I Tatti - the Harvard Centre for Italian Renaissance Studies. She works at the intersection of art and architectural history, musicology and the digital humanities and her research combines the analysis of historical materials with digital tools (3D modelling, GIS and virtual reality). She leads a number of collaborative projects that use digital technology to analyse visual and musical cultures and to explore immersive ways of engaging with heritage. At the University of Oxford, she is the academic lead of the ‘Digital Humanities and Heritage Network’ at The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH). She has published on musical instruments, soundscapes, space and the senses in Renaissance social life. Her work has been funded by the British Academy, the Leverhulme Trust, the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, the École Pratique des Hautes Études, and the Newton Trust at the University of Cambridge, among others. 


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Chriscinda Henry is Associate Professor of Art History at McGill University in Montréal, Canada.

Tim Shephard is Professor of Musicology at the University of Sheffield, UK, and simultaneously holds a status-only appointment as Associate Professor in History of Art at the University of Toronto, Canada.