Outside The Lines

Fun readings about Color, Art and Segmation!

Finding Music in Classic Works of Art

December 11, 2015 Jessica 1 Comment

Here at Segmation, we LOVE color…but we also adore sound. We believe music is one of the truest forms of art. We are especially interested in the representation of music in visual art. Those classic paintings that depict musicians seated at their pianos, gently holding their harps, and fiddling away for a crowd of onlookers take our breath away. Let’s have a closer look at some classic works of visual art that center on the incredible subject of music.

Without Music, What Would Degas Have Painted?

Edgar_Degas_-_Dance_ClassMost people associate painter Edgar Degas with ballerinas. However, music was a major artistic subject for Degas. In fact, the ballerinas that served as his muses were hidden away in opera houses. Paul Trachtman, writer for Smithsonian.com, says, “He (Degas) haunted the wings and classrooms of the magnificent Palais Garnier, home of the Paris Opéra and its Ballet.” Paintings such as The Dance Class, Musicians in the Orchestra and The Cafe Concert emphasize the connection between Degas’ art and music. Without music, it’s possible that he would have chosen entirely different subjects on which to theme his infamous paintings.

An Intimate Look at “A Flute Concert of Frederick the Great at Sanssouci”


In 1852, artist Adolph Menzel painted A Flute Concert of Frederick the Great at Sanssouci, a work of art that expresses music’s ability to captivate people. Take a close look at the painting and you’ll be pulled in to a world without cell phones, televisions and distractions. In the world Menzel lived in, small, at-home concerts were a commonality (however, concerts given by Frederick the Great were not!). A Flute Concert appears to be bathed in a warm, incandescent light just bright enough to allow it’s subject musicians to see their sheet music. Frederick the Great is the star of the show, front and center with his flute. To his left are accompanying musicians, and to his right, an audience that is engaged with the music swirling around the room. Oh, how wonderful it would be to step into this painting long enough to hear the music we can only imagine.

Kirchner’s Greek Virgins Incite Jealousy with Their Ease of Playing



Love Art Nouveau? (Really, what’s not to love about it?) If so, surely you have heard of  Austrian artist Raphael Kirchner’s Greek Virgins, a series of eleven paintings. Although the Greek ladies themselves are the center of attention in these works of art, the musical instruments that are featured in three of the pieces take a close second. The virgins in Kirchner’s works appear to effortlessly and peacefully play their well-crafted instruments. These pieces, completed in 1900, reveal the ethereal, enchanting nature of music.

What instrument do you play? How long have you been playing? How did you learn to play? We can’t wait to read your answers, so leave your thoughts in the “comments” section below.

Did you happen to see our blog post The Art of the Mountain Dulcimer? This is a must-read for music lovers of all kinds. Also, don’t forget to check out MusicMation, our digital paint-by-number pattern for Windows PC.

Read more Segmation blog posts about art and music:

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#a flute concert of frederick the great#adolph menzel#ballerinas#ballet#classic works of art#edgar degas#greek virgins#Music#musician#opera#orchestra#raphael kirchner#series#the dance class


  1. Sabine
    December 19, 2015 - 1:42 am

    Love your gallery of music themed paintings here. You have a way of describing them that is both analytic and very eloquent; one can practically hear the music play while watching those scenes. So well done, thank you!


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