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Seeing and Hearing the "Beyond":  Art, Music, and Mysticism in the Long Nineteenth Century

5-7 April 2018, London
Association for Art History 2018 Annual Conference
Courtauld Institute of Art, London, UK
http://www.forarthistory.org.uk/events/annual-conference-2018/

Session CFP: Seeing and Hearing the “Beyond”: Art, Music, and Mysticism in the Long Nineteenth Century

Convenors : Dr. Corrinne Chong,  corrinnecareens -at- gmail.com ; Dr. Michelle Foot,  mfoot -at- exseed.ed.ac.uk  ; Proposals Deadline: 6 November 2017

This interdisciplinary session will explore the dialogue between art and music in addressing the subject of mysticism in the long nineteenth century (1789 – 1918). To counteract the positivist current of the period, artistic circles gravitated towards mystical means that initiated the beholder and listener into truths that transcended the material realm. The session seeks to gauge the scope of different interpretations of mysticism and to illuminate how an exchange between art and music may unveil an underlying stream of metaphysical, supernatural, and spiritual ideas.

The multiple facets of mysticism manifested across a range of styles, aesthetics, and movements. As esotericism saturated America, Europe and Britain, the Romantics and Symbolists responded to mystical beliefs expressed in Swedenborgianism, Spiritualism, and Occultism while drawing on exposures to Eastern religions. Reinterpretations of pagan mysticism prompted the rediscovery of Folkloric primitivism. Meanwhile, Catholic, evangelical, and Medievalist revivals revitalised Christian themes. In practice, occult revivals at the fin-de-siècle permeated the thematic programmes of artists and composers. Wagner's operas underscored the link between music, myth, and mysticism through the synthesis of the arts. Subsequently, Syncretism in mystical philosophies was paralleled by musical correspondences in the visual arts. Synesthesia would instigate the development of abstraction.

This session invites submissions that extend on these ideas by investigating how the interconnectedness between art and music was able to evoke and be inspired by mysticism. Papers which incorporate perspectives across the spectrum of visual culture and musicology are particularly welcome.

 

 

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