Painting and Music

2 The Invention of Musical Painting

The basis for the comparison between painting and music shifted in the eighteenth century when the canons were established for those fine arts that were argued to have a common goal by writers on aesthetics (e.g., Charles Batteux, Moses Mendelssohn, Johann Georg Sulzer). The definition of the goal varied depending on the particular author, consisting, for example, in imitation of nature, sensuous perception, or impact on the recipient. And yet painting and music each addressed the sensory organs in their own way. Painting and music were subjected to a paradigmatic comparison and were allocated by means of the categories, respectively, of space, stasis, and understanding to the eye, and of time, movement, and feeling to the ear.

Towards the end of the eighteenth century, a utopian vision of musical painting that affected the beholder only by means of color and form was described in German Künstlerromane such as Wilhelm Heinse’s Ardinghello and Ludwig Tieck’s Franz Sternbalds Wanderungen [3] Two repositories of musical effect emerged in painting: landscape and color.