Music in Art


‘Blustery Daze’ by Nom Kinnear King
Original Artwork: Oil on Board
£995 or just £99.50 a month over 10 months (interest free)

It’s often said that a picture contains a thousand words, and it’s true that when looking at a piece the viewer is able to pick out and extrapolate themes and narratives that could perhaps not have been so perfectly expressed with the written word.

Can the same be said for music though? We know the sounds of our favourite tunes and instruments, but it can often be difficult to capture its essence within imagery. The act of listening is perhaps too abstract, preventing painters to fully express music onto canvas.

There are however famous examples of works that do just this. One example may be William Holman Hunt’s, ‘The Awakening Conscience’ picture below.


Here we see a kept Victorian mistress raising from the lap of her married lover having realised the “error of her ways” the image evokes a sense of salvation and hope, but also contains a musical quality. Almost like the backing score to a film, a sense of sound circulates in this image with the sound of image, notice the man’s thumb either compressing or depressing on the piano key. Running alongside this is the idea that her awakening is actually an aftermath of the music played on the piano.

While some painting will contain literal musical connotations like the two above, we must as well not overlook the importance the colour plays. It has been suggested that for many certain sounds conjure up different colours, a D sharp for example could cause the listener to visualise red and because of this the individual would relate the sound to paintings in the same colour. Therefore, different people would have varying musical experience when viewing the same piece regardless of the imagery used within the painting itself.

Other pictures may even really on a particular icon or familiar image to invoke a certain sound or group of songs much like the image of Madonna featured below.

The presence of music within art can often be overlooked and it may be worth taking time out when viewing an image to feel for any music within the piece, not all images will have any, but the ones that do will heighten the experience of viewing artwork and perhaps bring about a new way to look at art.


‘Madonna’ by Nick Holdsworth
Original Artwork: Pixelated Screen print and Spray-paint onto paper (framed)
£895 or 10 monthly instalments of just £89.50 (Interest free)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s