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POSTPONED - Visiting Scholar - Prof Antonio Baldassarre - Public Lecture 3


Before “Orientalism”: Rembrandt’s Musical Allegory (1626)

Start Date

14th Oct 2016 12:30pm

End Date

14th Oct 2016 1:30pm


Dechaineux Lecture Theatre, Tasmanian College of the Arts, Hunter St, Hobart

We wish to advise that due to circumstances beyond our control, Prof. Antonio Baldassarre is unable to join us to present his scheduled public lectures at the University of Tasmania. We are currently in negotiations with Prof. Baldassarre for the public lectures to be presented at a later date. We will advise details once known.

The University of Tasmania Conservatorium of Music in association with the Tasmanian Chapter of the Musicological Society of Australia


Before “Orientalism”: Rembrandt’s Musical Allegory (1626)

a public lecture by Prof. Antonio Baldassarre

12.30pm - 1.30pm | Friday 14 October 2016
Dechaineux Lecture Theatre
Tasmanian College of the Arts
Hunter St, Hobart


About this public lecture:
It is well known that the introduction of the theoretical concept of “Orientalism” is credited to Edward Said. Despite the criticism his study Orientalism (published in 1978) received in subsequent years his achievements raised a new awareness of the rather twisted imagined Western concept of the East and the mechanism of its fabrication. However, a too-generalized application of Said’s theory is problematic insofar as his interpretations and conclusions are based on instances of the Western European industrial age. In addition Said’s study also leaves out thorough analysis of the participation of the arts in these processes. Last but not least, recent research dealing with Renaissance and Baroque visual imaginary on Turk and Islamic culture clearly reveals that before the mid-eighteenth century conditions had been significantly different such that Said’s interpretative method can only be applied cautiously or not at all after the time of its formulation. The present paper provides an interpretation of an early painting by Rembrandt, generally known as Musical Allegory (preserved at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam today). The canvas was completed in 1626 and depicts four people gathered for a musical performance. The most striking feature of the painting is, however, the clearly perceptible references to the “Orient”. Based on an analysis that moves beyond mere stylistic and formal considerations and understands the visual object as embodying a more-than-visual-meaning, the paper will present a case study of early seventeenth-century “Dutch Orientalism”, challenging well established notions and convictions.​

Antonio Baldassarre is Professor and Head of Research and Development of Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, School of Music, and is appointed Guest Professor at the Facultad de Música of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México and PhD Advisor at Boston University. He is a board member of numerous national and international scientific and learned societies, including his role as President of Association Répertoire International d’Iconographie Musicale (RIdIM) and as Member of the Directorium of the International Musicological Society. He holds a PhD from the University of Zurich (Switzerland) and has held research and teaching positions as Research Fellow, Lecturer and Visiting Professor at the Research Center for Music Iconography, the universities of Basel and Zurich, the Faculty of Music of the University of Arts in Belgrade, and at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna. He has extensively researched and published on topics of music history from those of the Renaissance to contemporary music, music iconography, visual culture, performing studies, music historiography and the social and cultural history of music.