Dictionary of Art and Artists


that Changed the World


  Lascaux Caves Manesse illuminated Massys Callot Friedrich Picasso
  Tutankhamen's tomb Lorenzetti Grunewald Rembrandt Constable Matisse
  Europa and Minotaur Karlstein Castle Baldung Claude Lorrain Delacroix Marc
  Banquet Tomb Limbourg brothers Altdorfer Velazquez Turner Kandinsky
  Pompeii Van Eyck Cranach Vermeer Ingres Monet
  Birth of Christianity Della Francesca Holbein Rigaud Manet Chirico
  Hagia Sophia Uccello Titian Watteau Burne-Jones Modigliani
  Book of Kells Mantegna Bruegel Canaletto Seurat Chagall
  St Benedict Botticelli Vicentino Boucher Van Gogh Kahlo
  Bayeux Tapestry Anonymous Arcimboldo Fragonard Toulouse-Lautrec Dali
  Donizo manuscript Durer El Greco Gainsborough Munch Ernst
  Liber Scivias Bosch Theodore de Bry John Trumbull Cezanne Hopper
  Carmina Burana Da Vinci Caravaggio David Gauguin Bacon
  Falcon Book Michelangelo Rubens Gros Degas Warhol
  Giotto Raphael Brouwer Goya Klimt  

From Lascaux to Warhol

Supreme art is a traditional statement of certain heroic and religious truth,
passed on from age to age, modified by individual genius,
but never abandoned.

William Butler Yeats




What Would Life Be Without Music?

The Etruscans and melodic beginnings



As another hindrance to education let us note that playing the flute renders the flautist incapable of speaking. Athena, we remember, invented the flute and then cast it aside because she didn't like the way playing this instrument distorted her face.

Aristotle, Athenaion Politeia, VIII6, fourth century ВС



The beautifully decorated Banquet Tomb in the former Etruscan city of Tarquinia



Europe's oldest depictions of musical instruments and its oldest written music were found in Greece, the home of antiquity's most famous writers on music: Plato (r. 428—348 ВС), the founder of Western philosophy, and Aristotle (c. 384—322 ВС), his no less distinguished pupil. In The Republic, Plato declared: "Education through music is extraordinarily important because rhythm and harmony penetrate to the depths of the soul, seize and ennoble it." This quality would only be brought out of the soul by "good" music:

which was traditional music. In matters of art, Plato was a conservative: "One should guard against anything novel in music, otherwise everything will be called into question. Nowhere are the laws of music broken without the law itself being broken!" The way his philosophy had it, disordered music produced disordered souls which produced a disordered society. The serious and sober philosopher despised the flute above all. To him it epitomised the orgiastic cult of Dionysus, and was therefore an instrument of evil (there are

"Platonists" today who say the same about Heavy Metal music). Aristotle agreed with his teacher in principle, but allowed the flute into his Ideal State, where it would be played only at such occasions "where listening aims more at cleansing than instructing".

And what did the Etruscans have to do with the flute? It was some time around the tenth century ВС when this people emigrated from Turkey to Italy. There they established the first western European cities in the land to which they gave their name, Tuscany, and to which they brought Greek music and culture. Yet the Etruscan achievement is most convincingly attested to by their tombs, some of which are in superb condition. They are not only Europe's first domed buildings, but also contain its oldest frescoes. Flute Players is a superb example of works that were discovered in 1830 in a beautifully decorated tomb in Tarquinia, one of the largest Etruscan cities, situated about eighty kilometres north of Rome.


Anonymous, probably Greek
Flute Players
480—450 ВC
From the Tomba del Triclinio
Museo Nazionale, Tarqumia, Italy


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