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Music Library Thematic Displays: Art in Music

This guide showcases resources from the George F. DeVine Music Library centered on specific themes. Selected themes reflect UT School of Music events and programs, as well as cultural celebrations.

Music in Art

Art in Music

Art in Music


Goyescas, a piano suite by Enrique Granados, takes general inspiration from the works of Spanish painter Francisco Goya. Goyescas references two works by Goya in particular: El amor y la muerte, an etching, and El pelele, an oil painting.

"El amor y la muerte", an etching by Francisco Goya 

El amor y la muerte

Etching (1797)

GRANADOS, E.: Goyescas, Book 1

No. 5: El amor y la muerte

"El pelele", a painting by Francisco Goya

El pelele

Painting (1791)

GRANADOS, E.: Goyescas, Book 1

El pelele: Escena Goyesca

Pictures at an Exhibition

Modest Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition comes from an exhibition the composer attended posthumously displaying sketches and watercolors by Viktor Hartman, an architect and a painter. Each movement from Pictures allegedly corresponds to a different work by Hartman, although some of the sketches originally on display have been lost.

Mussorgsky originally composed Pictures at an Exhibition in 1886 as a solo piano suite, but the piece has received a multitude of orchestral adaptations in the years since. The best known arrangement was orchestrated by Maurice Ravel in 1922.


Sketches of theatre costumes by Viktor Hartman

Sketches of theatre costumes for the ballet Trilby

MUSSORGSKY, M.: Pictures at an Exhibition

V. Ballet of the Unhatched Chicks

"Paris Catacombs" by Viktor Hartman

Paris Catacombs

MUSSORGSKY, M.: Pictures at an Exhibition 

VIII. Catacombae: Sepulchrum romanum

"Baba Yaga's Hut" by Viktor Hartman

The hut of Baba-Yaga on hen's legs

MUSSORGSKY, M.: Pictures at an Exhibition

IX. The Hut on Hen's Legs

Isle of the Dead


Arnold Böcklin's oil painting Isle of the Dead inspired Sergei Rachmaninoff's symphonic poem Op. 29 "Ostrov mortvykh" ("Isle of the Dead). Though Böcklin's painting was in color, the version Rachmaninoff saw was a black and white photograph of the original. 

"Isle of the Dead", a painting by Arnold BocklinIsle of the Dead


Album cover of Rachmaninov: Symphonic Dances/Isle of the Dead, conducted by Enrique Batiz

RACHMANINOFF: The Isle of the Dead, Op. 29

Sunday in the Park with George

Stephen Sondheim's musical Sunday in the Park with George depicts a fictionalized version of French artist Georges Seraut, known for his pointillist paintings. The musical was nominated for ten Tony awards and won the 1985 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

"A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte", a painting by Georges Seraut

Album cover of the original cast recording of "Sunday in the Park with George"

SONDHEIM, S.: Sunday in the Park with George

More Music Based on Art

Rothko Chapel in Houston, Texas

Rothko Chapel

FELDMAN, MORTON: Rothko Chapel

"La Primavera" by Botticelli

OTTORINO RESPIGHI: Trittico botticelliano, P. 151

I. La primavera, allegro vivace


"L'adorazione dei Magi", Sandro Botticelli

OTTORINO RESPIGHI: Trittico botticelliano, P. 151

II. L'adorazione dei Magi: andante lento

"La nascita di venere", Sandro Botticelli


OTTORINO RESPIGHI: Trittico botticelliano, P. 151

III. La nascita di Venere: allegro moderato