The inclusion of angel musicians in religious themes became common in European art during the Middle Ages, despite the religious authorities’ distrust of music for its seductive and hedonistic power. From the 15th century, this cautious attitude started to dissipate in favour of the visual effect of graceful angelic figures accompanied by beautifully-shaped musical instruments. The elegance of the figures, along with the evocation of music, alluded to paradise and divine transcendence. Over the centuries that followed, representations of themes with musicians and musical instruments took on different connotations and new purposes, in both sacred and profane contexts.
An art of the moment, the representation of music implies an allusion to the pleasure of the senses as well as to the ephemeral nature of human existence. From the museum collection, we present some drawings from diverse periods and creators that demonstrate the fascination that artists have always felt towards these themes.
Alexandra Gomes Markl