cover image Music


Rizzoli, Jean-Yves Bosseur, Jean-Yves Bosseur. Rizzoli International Publications, $85 (198pp) ISBN 978-0-8478-1427-5

This handsomely illustrated but virtually unreadable book attempts to give insight into the correspondence between music and the visual arts from antiquity to the present. In short passages accompanying fine color reproductions of art works depicting musicians, musical performances and instruments, French composer and author Bosseur discusses the mythological significance of stringed instruments in Greek and Roman art, the symbolic function of music-making angels in medieval art, the moral considerations embodied in representations of music making in the Renaissance, the fusion of music and art in the works of modern painters and composers, and other examples of interaction between arts. There are many ideas worth exploring here, but they are buried in a text so opaque that it would have been better to let the pictures speak for themselves. The translation does nothing to lead the reader out of the verbal jungle. Beautifully designed but unwieldy in both size and content, this volume is unlikely ever to leave the coffee table. (Feb.)