Jubal, Pythagoras and the Myth of the Origin of Music - With some remarks concerning the illumination of Pit (It. 568)

Davide Daolmi


At the end of the fourteenth century the iconography of Music shows a complex morphology based on the myth of the first founding father of the musical art. Its most sophisticated image appears in the opening illumination of Pit (Paris, Bibl. Nationale, It. 568), one of the most important manuscripts of the Italian Ars Nova.
After reviewing the existing bibliography, the first part of the article traces the cultural context that produced this illumination. The second part reconstructs the whole history of the myth of the origin of music, its biblical tradition (Jubal), its pagan equivalent (Pythagoras), their association with the myth of translatio studii (the pillars of knowledge), and its syncretic form adopted from the twelfth century onward. The iconographic model was conceived in fourteenth-century Italy, and the illumination of Pit is its most complete form; it was later assimilated into the iconography of Saint Cecilia.
The reconstruction of this stratification of myths aims to clarify how different musical traditions crossed each other, and at the same time proposes an earlier dating for the illumination of Pit (late fourteenth century) in connection with Silvestro dei Gherarducci’s Florentine workshop.

Full Text

PDF (English)

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13132/1826-9001/17.1894

Registrazione presso la Cancelleria del Tribunale di Pavia n. 552 del 14 luglio 2000 – ISSN elettronico 1826-9001 | Università degli Studi di Pavia Dipartimento di Musicologia | Pavia University Press

Privacy e cookies