Vol. XXIX – p. 97

Nicoletta Guidobaldi,
L’immaginario musicale nell’epoca di Rubens

Abstract: The iconographic landscape of the early modern period between the end of the sixteenth and the middle of the seventeenth century fairly coincides with the flourishing of Peter Paul Rubens (1577–1640). It is dominated by figurative representations of music in all its dimensions: cosmic principles governing the laws of the universe; music personified as a discipline and as a powerful magical force able to create prodigious effects; portraits of professionals, amateurs and popular musicians singing and playing all kind of instruments. This article proposes an excursus through the galaxy of themes, symbols and meanings that overlap in these multifarious sonorous images which provide us with a plethora of insight into not only the performance practices and social functions of music, but also the musical tastes and the main aesthetic trends of the so-called ‘age of Rubens’.