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Smithsonian Associates - Entertaining, Informative, Eclectic, Insightful
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Art Meets Music: A Duet Between Visual Artists and Composers

4-Session Daytime Series

Thursday, October 7, 14, 21, and 28, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET
Quick Tix Code: 1K0148
 $80 Package Member
 $90 Package Non-Member
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Music and the visual arts have always walked hand-in-hand. For millennia, artists have obsessed about how to represent music’s invisible beauty, just as composers have sought to render art’s vibrant colors in pure sound.

Join popular speaker and concert pianist Rachel Franklin for a fascinating exploration into the intimate relationship between the visible and invisible arts,  and how music can literally bind the arts together.

Please Note: Individual sessions are available for individual purchase.

OCT 7  Chagall at the Opera: A Listener’s Guide

Marc Chagall said “I wanted to represent, as in a mirror, a bunch of dreams, the creations of the actors and musicians; to keep in mind the colorful clothes of the audience stirring on the lower level. To sing like a bird, free of any theory and method. To render homage to the great composers of operas and ballets.” From the Paris Opéra Garnier to New York’s Metropolitan Opera, Chagall created utterly unique murals, sets,  and costumes for opera houses and theaters worldwide that changed theatrical design forever. Franklin surveys the many composers he glorified and discusses how they inspired him.

OCT 14  Symbols and Allegories: Art’s Hidden Musical Codes

Humans have been playing music for more than 40,000 years and images of us with our instruments abound from Neolithic times. From intimate family portraits to massive historical, religious, and allegorical artworks, music and musicians are embedded throughout the history of art. Many of these works contain secret codes that contemporary viewers would have understood. Franklin interprets glorious paintings by artists such as Lippi, Vermeer, and Hogarth and offers music that would have been performed at the time.

OCT 21  The Sharps: Family Harmony

Meet the Sharps. Behind Johan Joseph Zoffany’s joyful late-18th-century portrait of a  musical party on the Thames that depicts the family of Granville Sharp playing together lies a powerful celebration of social harmony and a true commitment to justice.

Franklin explores this fascinating intersection of art, music, and history to find that the entertaining Sharps have a ringing take-home message for today: love music, give back, and always wear big hats.

OCT 28  The Artist as Musician, the Composer as Model

Many great artists were also musicians. Ingres, Delacroix, Klee, and Matisse, all were passionate instrumentalists. How did their deep friendships with composers and constant musical immersion shape their art? Franklin delves into the meaning behind some famous portraits of Chopin and Paganini and consider how Matisse and Klee expressed the essential presence of music in their own lives.

British-born Franklin has been a featured speaker for organizations including the Library of Congress and heard on NPR, exploring intersections among classical and jazz music, film scores, and the fine arts.

Photo caption (upper right): Clockwise: Marc Chagall's ceiling inside the Palais Garnier painted in 1964, Paris (Photo: David Stanley), Allegory of Music by Filippino Fiorentino, "The Sharp Family" by Johann Zoffany (NPG London), Frédéric Chopin by Delacroix

4 sessions

World Art History Certificate elective: Earn 1/2 credit per session*

Patron Information

  • If you register multiple individuals, you will be asked to supply individual names and email addresses so they can receive a Zoom link email. Please note that if there is a change in program schedule or a cancellation, we will notify you via email, and it will be your responsibility to notify other registrants in your group.
  • Once registered, patrons should receive an automatic email confirmation from
  • Separate Zoom link information will be emailed closer to the date of each session. If you do not receive your Zoom link information 24 hours prior to the start of each session, please email Customer Service for assistance.
  • View Common FAQs about our Streaming Programs on Zoom.

*Enrolled participants in the World Art History Certificate Program receive 1/2 elective credit per program session. Not yet enrolled? Learn about the program, its benefits, and how to register here.

This program is part of our
Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.