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Selected Works Which Were Inspired by Art

The following is a list of compositions known to be influenced by works of art.  The list is not exhaustive in its inclusion.  The musical composition is cited first with any known data on instrumentation, date of composition, and publication (if known).  A citation for the artist and work of art which inspired the music follows each composition entry.

You may access the list alphbetically by composer last name.





  • Bonotto, Robert. French Painters, music for flute and piano.  Unpublished, 1987.

  •       Art: Styles of Félix Edouard Vallotton, Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, Eugene Carriere, Alfred Sisley,   Edouard Vuillard
  • Bonotto, Robert.  La Pallette de Carpeaux for piano.  Unpublished, 1994.

  •       Art: Style of Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux
  • Boulez, Pierre.  Structures Ia for two pianos.  1952.  Mainz: Universal Edition, 1955.

  •       Art: Paul, Klee: Structures Ia
  • Bourland, Roger. Seven Pollock Paintings for flute, clarinet, and soprano saxophone, bass clarinet, violin, viola,  violoncello, double bass, and tam tam.  Newton Centre, MA: Margun Music, 1980.

  •       Art: Jackson Pollock: Lavender Mist, The Wooden Horse, Eyes in the Heat, Drawing 1950, Peacocks   Afraid of Color, The Deep, The Saint INDEX


    • Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Mario Caprichos de Goya para Guitarra, Op. 195

    •       Art: Francisco Jose de Goya: Los Caprichos (from a set of 80 aquatint prints)
    • Cleary, David. Five Pieces on Paintings of Max Ernst for orchestra.  Unpublished, 1982.

    •       Art: Max Ernst: The Celebes Elephant, The Robing of the Bride, The Nymphaea,  The Angle of the   Hearth, Petrified City
    • Courtier, Jessica.  Untitled, Rothko - 1967 for eight female voices - six singing and two whispered.  1996.

    •       Art: Mark Rothko:  Untitled - 1967


    • Debussy, Claude. L’Isle joyeuse.  1904.

    •       Art: Jean-Antoine Watteau: L’Embarquement pour Cythère, (1717)
    • Denisch, Beth.  Forth Project for piano.  Brockton, MA: Juxtab Music, 1994.

    •       Art: Mark Forth: Sleep, Night Train, Equine I, Bad Girl Blues, Spring II, Swingset II
    • Deussen, Nancy Bloomer.  The Baylands for flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, and piano.  Eugene, OR: Freelance   Publications, 1994.

    •       Art: Jone Manoogian: Flowering, Brilliance, Migration, Solitude (Multimedia panels)
    • Dutilleux, Henri. Timbres, espace, mouvement for orchestra.  Paris: Huegel et Cie, 1980.

    •       Artist: Vincent van Gogh: The Starry Night


    • Evgrafov, Yury.  Twelve engravings for harp.  Moscow: Sovetsky compositor, 1992.

    •  Art: Andreevic Fedotov: Self-portrait, A Cabby and a Police Officer, A Young Man with a Sandwich, A   Chief and a Subordinate, A Grafter, At the Tea-drinking Party, Christening, An Organ-grinder, An Old   Artist, The Major Kulkov, A Sketch of Plaster Cast to the ''Widow," A Window


    • Fuchs, Kenneth. Autumn Rhythm (Idyll for Wind Quintet After a Painting by Jackson Pollock), Edward B. Marks Music Company, New York, NY, 2008. Recording: London Symphony Orchestra; JoAnn Falletta, conductor; Naxos (American Classics 8.559335), 2008.

    •       Art: Jackson Pollock: Autumn Rhythm
    • Fuchs, Kenneth. Christina’s World (Idyll for Winds, Brass, and Percussion After a Painting by Andrew Wyeth), Edward B. Marks Music Company, New York, NY, 2006. Recording: University of Miami Wind Ensemble; Gary Green, conductor; Albany Records (Troy 403), 2000.

    •       Art: Andrew Wyeth: Christina's World
    • Fuchs, Kenneth. Face of the Night (Chamber Concerto for Oboe and English Horn After a Painting by Robert Motherwell), Edward B. Marks Music Company, New York, NY, 1990. Recording: New York Legends: Recitals with Principals from the New York Philharmonic; Glen Cortese, conductor; Thomas Stacy, oboe and English horn; Cala Records (CACD0511), 1997.

    •       Art: Robert Motherwell: Face of the Night
    • Fuchs, Kenneth. Fire, Ice and Summer Bronze (Idyll for Brass Quintet After Two Works on Paper by Helen Frankenthaler), Edward B. Marks Music Company, New York, NY, 2008. Recording: London Symphony Orchestra; JoAnn Falletta, conductor; Naxos (American Classics 8.559335), 2008.

    •       Art: Helen Frankenthaler: Fire and Ice, Summer Bronze
    • Fuchs, Kenneth. Out of the Dark (After Three Paintings by Helen Frankenthaler), alternate versions for chamber orchestra and chamber ensemble, Theodore Presser Company, King of Prussia, PA, 1987. Recording: London Symphony Orchestra; JoAnn Falletta, conductor; Naxos (American Classics 8.559224), 2005.

    •       Art: Helen Frankenthaler: Heart of November, Out of the Dark, Summer Banner


    • Golubev, Igor.  Dürer-concerto for two violins, organ, synthesizer, trombone, bass guitar, string orchestra.    Moscow: Sovetsky compositor, 1988.

    •       Art: Albrecht Dürer: Melancholy; Horseman, Death, and Devil; Jeronymus


    • Hartke, Stephen: King of the Sun, tableau for violin, viola, cello, piano.  St. Louis: Norruth Music, Inc., 1993.

    •       Art: Joan Miro: Personages in the Night Guided by Phosphorescent Tracks of Snails; Dutch Interior,   Dancers Listening to the Organ in a Gothic Cathedral; The Flames of the Sun Make the Dessert   Flowers Hysterical; Personages and Birds Rejoicing at the Arrival of Night
    • Henze, Hans Werner.  Das Floss der Medusa, oratorio vulgare e milatare.  1966.  Mainz: Edition Schott, 1967.

    •       Art: Jean Louis Andre Theodore Gericault: Das Floss der Medussa
    • Higdon, Jennifer.  Short Stories for saxophone quartet: one movement titled "Splashing the Canvas."    Philadelphia: Lawdon Press, 1996.

    •       Art: Style of Jackson Pollock
    • Hilliard, John S.  Five Miro Bagatelles for oboe, clarinet, bassoon.   Harrisonburg, VA: Gitchi-Mukwa, 1995.

    •       Art: Joan Miro: Dragonfly with Red-Tipped Wings in Pursuit of a Snake Spiraling Toward a Comet;   Dancer Listening to the Organ in a Gothic Cathedral; Dog, Barking at Moon; Personages in the   Presence of a Metamorphosis; Women Encircled by the Flight of a Bird
    • Hindemith, Paul.  Mathis der Maler, opera and symphony. Mainz: B. Schott's Söhne, 1935.

    •       Art: Matthias Grünewald: Altarpiece at Isenheim, symphony uses three instrumental movements from the opera based on Englekonzert (Angel's concert), Grablegung (Burial), Versuchung des Heiligen Antonius  (Temptation of St. Anthony)



    • Jagoe, Kevin D.  Frieze of Life for Chamber Orchestra.  1998

    •        Art: Edvard Munch: The Scream, Red and White, The Dance of Life, Melancholy, The Dead Mother and Child


    • Kikta, Valery.  The Frescoes of Kiev Sofia, symphony concertante for harp and orchestra.  Moscow: Musica,   1984.

    •       Art: Sofia Cathedral, Kiev, Russia: Frescoes
    • Kikta, Valery.  Diptych on Sculptures by Bourdelle.  Moscow: Musica, 1972.

    •       Art: Emile Antoine Bourdelle: Sapho and The Dying Centaur
    • Kikta, Valery.  By Ossian.  Moscow: Sovetsky compositor, 1985.

    •       Art: Unknown French Romantic era artist: Ossian


    • Lefkowitz, David.  Calder's Closet, music for harp, piano, vibraphone, and chimes.  Tokyo: Zen-On Music,   1990.

    •       Art: Alexander Calder: Calder's Closet (mobile)
    • Lefkowitz, David.  Four Works, Exhibited for string quartet.  Tokyo: Zen-One Music, 1989.

    •       Art: Barnett Newman: Onement I.  Jackson Pollock: Blue Poles.  Mark Rothko: Dark Gray Tone on Maroon.  Clyfford Still: 1955-56-A (PH 1086)
    • Liszt, Franz.  Hunnenschlacht for orchestra.  Wiesbaden: Breitkopf and Härtel, 1857.

    •       Art: Wilhelm von Kaulbach:  Hunnenschlacht
    • Liszt, Franz.  Totentanz for piano and orchestra.  Wiesbaden: Breitkopf and Härtel, 1849, rev. 1859.

    •       Art: Orcagna: Il trionfo della morte
    • Liszt, Franz.  Von der Wiege bis zum Grabe for orchestra.  New York: G. Schirmer, 1881 - 2.

    •       Art: Count Michael Zichy: Von der Wiege bis zum Grabe


    • McCabe, John.  The Chagall Windows for orchestra.  1974.  London: Novello, 1975.

    •       Art: Marc Chagall: stained-glass windows in the synagogue of the Hadassah Hospital, Hebrew   University, Jerusalem
    • Mussorgsky, Modest.  Pictures at an Exhibition for piano.  1874.  New York: Edward B. Marks, 1941.

    •       Art: Victor A. Hartman: Canary Chicks in their Shells (costume design for Gerber's ballet), A Rich Jew in a   Fur Hat, Poor Jew, Paris Catacombs, Baba-Yaga's Hut on Hen's Legs (sketch for a clock), Design for   Kiev City Gate: Main Façade, other works have been lost
    • McTee, Cindy.  The Twittering Machine for chamber orchestra.  St. Louis: Norruth Music, Inc., 1993.

    •       Art: Paul Klee: The Twittering Machine
    • Martinu, Bohuslav.  Fresques de Piero della Francesca for orchestra.  Mainz: Universal Editions, 1955.

    •       Art: Piero della Francesca: frescoes



    • Ott, David.  Music of the Canvas for orchestra.  St. Louis: MMB Music, 1990.

    •       Art: Richard Pousette-Dart: (movement 1) Symphony No. 1, (movement 2) style of Pousette-Dart,   (movement 3) The Creation of the Universe

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    • Rachmaninoff, Sergei.  Isle of the Dead, Op. 29, for orchestra.  New York: Boosey and Hawkes, Inc., 1907.

    •       Art: Arnold Bocklin: Isle of the Dead
    • Respighi, Ottorino.  Trittico Botticelliano for orchestra.  Milan: G. Ricordi and Co., 1927.

    •       Art: Alesandro Di Mariano Botticelli: La Primavera, L'Adorazione dei Magi, La Nascita di Venere
    • Russell, Armand.  Zoomorphs: Homage to Kandinsky,  music for trumpet, trombone, and percussion.  New   York: Seesaw Music Corp., 1974.

    •       Art: Wassily Kandinsky: style and general content from works in his zoomorphic period


    • Schickele, Peter.  Thurber's Dogs for chamber orchestra.  New York: Elkan-Vogel, 1994.

    •       Art: James Thurber:  cartoon dog drawings
    • Schuller, Gunther.  American Triptych for orchestra. New York: Associated Music Publishers, Inc., 1965

    •       Art: Alexander Calder: mobile;  Jackson Pollack: Out of the Web
    • Schuller, Gunther.  Seven Studies on Themes of Paul Klee for orchestra.  Mainz: Universal Edition, 1959.

    •       Art: Paul Klee: Antique Harmonies, Abstract Trio, Little Blue Devil, The Twittering Machine, Arab Village, An Eerie Moment, Pastourale
    • Shaffer, Jeanne E.  Monet Diptych for piano. Montgomery, AL: Company Press, 1996.

    •       Art: Claude Monet: Woman with a Parasol, Camille in the Garden
    • Shaffer, Jeanne E.  Woman with a Parasol, music for flute, violin, viola, and cello.  Montgomery, AL: Company Press, 1996.

    •       Art: Claude Monet: Woman with a Parasol
    • Sondheim, Stephen.  Sunday in the Park with George, musical theatre.  1984.  New York: PAJ Publications,   1986.

    •       Art: Georges Pierre Seurat: Sunday on the Island of La Grand Jatte
    • Stravinsky, Igor.  The Rake's Progress, opera.  New York: Boosey and Hawkes, Inc., 1951.

    •       Art: William Hogarth:  The Rake's Progress series of engravings


    • Turnage, Mark-Anthony.  Three Screaming Popes: after Francis Bacon for large orchestra for full orchestra.    Unpublished: ND.
    •       Art: Francis Bacon: Pope I, Pope II, Study after Velasquez's Portrait of Pope Innocent X



    • Vaughn Williams, Ralph. Job, a masque for dancing. 1927 - 31.

    •       Art: William Blake: engravings for The Book of Job (1926)


    • Welcher, Dan.  Prairie Light: Three Texas Watercolors of Georgia O'Keefe, for full orchestra.  New York:   Theodore Presser, 1986.

    •       Art: Georgia O'Keefe:  Light Coming on the Plains, Canyon with Crows, Starlight Night

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    To give comments, suggestions, or submit new listings, please email Kevin Jagoe at

    To add new listings, please give the following:

    Composer's complete name (and if you have an email address or URL for them, please provide it)

    • The complete title of the work and what ensemble it was created
    • Creation year if known...or state "Unknown year"
    • Any publisher information if it is published
    • The name(s) of the artist who created the inspiration work
    • The name(s) of the original art work

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