Ever since early man needed something beyond language to communicate, art and music has been around as a means of conveying, via images and sounds, things which cannot be said in words alone.
These two forms of expression have developed along a parallel course throughout history reflecting contemporary concerns and tastes in their own unique way, and also working together to capture the spirit of the times. Music has always been a big part of who we are and how we tell our stories. Whatever period you are looking at, there are numerous paintings of musicians, musical instruments, and musical study.
It’s ironic that people are drawn to visual depictions of music when the whole idea of it is to provide something to be enjoyed through the ears. Why do we go to “see” bands live in concert? True, the acoustic sense and specific performance may be better than listening to a recording at home, but there’s also something about the look of the players and their instruments as they play onstage that adds to the experience.
Some musical instruments go beyond subjects and motifs in artwork and are works of art in their own right. In their design and surface decoration they’re meant to look as good as they sound. These pieces deserve to hang in private collections, galleries and museums next to rooms full paintings and sculpture, even though they do so silently.
One would hope that future generations will get a sense of our time by the artworks we choose to leave behind, and hopefully, even in this age of advanced technology, there will be no lack of images of the simple pleasures of music and those who love it.
Brian Sylvester is a guest blogger on WallSpin, and an artist on Zatista.