Le violon de Delacroix : musicality and modernist aesthetics

Cassells, Caroline, Department of Art, University of Virginia
Barolsky, Paul, Department of Art, University of Virginia
Summers, David, Department of Art, University of Virginia
Goedde, Lawrence, Department of Art, University of Virginia

This dissertation situates Eugene Delacroix's attitudes and arguments about musicality within the broader framework of Western European concepts of music, painting, and aesthetics from antiquity through the nineteenth-century. Since antiquity music held a privileged position in Western pedagogy and philosophical speculations on aesthetics. That elevated status stemmed from its early perceived connections to mathematics and was linked to the profoundly Platonic notion of the harmony of the spheres, a quasimystical concept that suggested the fundamental organization of the universe was based on numerical proportions that were also necessarily musical. This idea survived - not without its detractors and in various guises - up until the Renaissance. With the rise of the natural sciences and the related weakening of such ancient tropes, music's position changed. This disintegration of a unified, ancient universe, with its related concept of a creation and humanity literally tuned to cosmic music, can be viewed, in Max Weber's terms, as an example of modernism's disenchantment of the world. Yet, at the same time that an alienated modernity disenchants, it often betrays a nostalgic yearning for that lost plenitude and clarity. Delacroix's language of musicality may reflect such an unrealized attempt at reenchantment.

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PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Eugene Delacroix, musicality

Digitization of this thesis was made possible by a generous grant from the Jefferson Trust, 2015.

Thesis originally deposited on 2016-02-18 in version 1.28 of Libra. This thesis was migrated to Libra2 on 2017-03-23 16:33:24.

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