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Turqueries and Chinoiseries with Musical Symbols: Examples from Slovenia

Darja Koter and Irena Bezjak
Music in Art
Vol. 29, No. 1/2, Music in Art: Iconography as a Source for Music History Volume I (Spring–Fall 2004), pp. 113-122
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/41818756
Page Count: 10
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Turqueries and Chinoiseries with Musical Symbols: Examples from Slovenia
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Abstract

The paintings The concert on the Oriental court (1786) and The lute concert (ca. 1786) by Johann Josef Karl Henrici (1737-1823) - both at the Akademija za Glasbo in Ljubljana - depict musical life in European aristocratic society of the second half of the eighteenth century and in their details are tuned up on exoticism. The first painting presents the allegory of music, while the second can be understood as the allegory of hearing or the allegory of five senses. In the Dornava mansion - which used to be owned by Austrian aristocrats and today is considered to be one of the most exceptional mansions in Slovenia - on the painted wall canvas are preserved Chinoiseries from about 1750, which belong among the most distinguished European examples of this genre. Represented scenes are produced after seventeenth-century fantastic and grotesque engravings (one source was the series Balli di Sfesania by Jacques Callot from ca. 1622), in the details comparable to Chinoiseries produced for the European market of the second half of the eighteenth century. Among motifs of the Italian comedia dell'arte and scenes of imaginary life in China, are depicted two figures, one playing a stylized lyre and the other a bowed string instrument. The instruments seem to be European, but their - fantastic shapes make it obvious that their symbolism overcomes strict musical meaning.

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