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Wir geben den Ton an. Bilder der Musik von Mantegna bis Matisse

The Kupferstichkabinett of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin is dedicating this exhibition to a topic that is as entertaining as it is varied: the subject of music in drawings and prints. A selection of about 100 of the most beautiful musical works will be on display.

The recurring leitmotif evident in the exhibition is the special affinity between musical and pictorial expression. In musical notation, for instance, many of the basic elements of the graphic arts such as lines, initials, abbreviations, and dots capture the fleeting sound of a melody and make it visible on paper – music, in short, is drawn. And on the other hand, in the prints and drawings on display here, the dancing, flowing, or staccato strokes of the pen, pencil, or burin are strongly reminiscent of musical rhythms and harmonies. With the rise of modernism, visual artists even started creating tonal compositions of lines and colours rendered with pen and brush. These works impressively illustrate the creative back-and-forth between the visual arts and music.

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