Artist-Musicians, Musician-Artists


Two models have characterized the nature of the artistic profession over the last centuries. On the one hand, there is the concept of the all-round artist that has prevailed since Leonardo da Vinci, and which to a certain extent also constitutes the intellectual background for the phenomenon of artist-musician/musician-artist. On the other hand, there is the ideal of a clearly specified vocation and the consistent pursuit of a cultural intent. Niklas Luhmann perceives this development of the art system as one of increasing professionalization and differentiation.[1]

Ultimately, it was individual trends in the twentieth century which favored a merging of roles that were decisive in the development of the phenomenon of artist-musician/musician-artist. These were first and foremost cultural movements that proved to be expansive and interdisciplinary. In addition, economic considerations that required a dual cultural function may have entered into play. During some periods, it was easier to earn money with fine art, while at other times music was more lucrative. Overall, the historical aspect thus plays a significant role — not forgetting individual factors such as friendships, important encounters, or special cliques and milieus (for instance, particular clubs). A wide variety of aspects must thus be taken into account when exploring this topic, which proves to be surprisingly complex. As a result, art-history, musicology, cultural sociology, and also economic and psychological considerations must all be incorporated into the analysis.