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Durham e-Theses
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Adomo's physiognomical image of Mahler: the convergence of music, painting, and language

McLaughlin, Rebecca (2009) Adomo's physiognomical image of Mahler: the convergence of music, painting, and language. Unspecified thesis, Durham University.



This study makes a case for the manifestation of mannerism in the music of Mahler through a close reading of Adomo's monograph on the composer, concurrently supporting the theory that mannerism is a distinct style, not limited to fixed periods, conditions in art, or media. The label 'Mannerism' connotes the style of sixteenth century Italian fine art, circumscribed by various art historians in the twentieth century. This study argues that the style is evident beyond the constraints of the sixteenth century, through the investigation of its manifestations in different artworks, created both in earlier and more contemporary times. The argument is constructed from a detailed comparison of the characteristics of the style in the paintings of sixteenth century Italian artists Arcimboldo and Parmigianino, the early twentieth century music by Schoenberg and Mahler, and Virginia Woolfs last novel. The comparison is facilitated by the utilisation of Barthes's writings on Arcimboldo, John Ashbery's poem about one of Parmigianino's paintings, and, predominantly, Adomo's interpretation of Mahler. The study also addresses issues that concern a comparison between different media, such as the problematical nature of the convergence of the arts. For example, the comparison of linguistic elements in both Arcimboldo's and Mahler's artworks is difficult to conduct without implying that art or music become language; the notion of a painterly language, or a musical language is complex and ambiguous. The study deals with the issue of whether one medium has to be fundamentally similar to another, in order to identify common characteristics between the two. In accordance with Adorno's writings on this paradigm, the conclusion drawn supports the position that the style of mannerism can be identified as manifesting itself in different mediums, without the necessity to scrutinise the fundamental connection between music, painting and literary forms.

Item Type:Thesis (Unspecified)
Thesis Date:2009
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:08 Sep 2011 18:29

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