Interior with Music


Max Weber (1881 - 1961)


Interior with Music




oil on canvas


58.5 x 38.5 inches, 148.6 x 97.8 cm

Credit Line:

Courtesy Art Bridges


Eskenazi Gallery, European and American Art, Modern and Contemporary, first floor

In Interior with Music, slinking lines and angular forms rhythmically divide an assemblage of intersecting planes to create a visual symphony that viewers not only see but hear. Like European avant-garde artists such as James Abbott Mcneill Whistler and Wassily Kandinsky, Weber blurs sight and sound by translating music into the visual language of line, color, and form. In other words, Interior with Music visually captures the experience of listening to music as it “wafts in space.” Consider how Weber transforms music into a visual format through swooping lines and swatches of color. What sounds, instruments, or emotions does this painting bring to mind? Is there a particular song that you hear? Try comparing Interior with Music to Russian composer Igor Stravinsky’s introduction to The Rite of Spring (1913). What do Weber and Stravinsky’s works have in common? What differentiates them? By attuning ourselves to the sound of visual elements, we learn to hear what we see and embrace “moments when our senses seem to take on the functions of each other.”

Activity: Elements of Music

Examining an art object often involves understanding how it employs the seven elements of art, including: color, form, line, shape, space, texture, and value. For this activity, try describing Interior with Music using the eight elements of music defined below. Does the painting appear loud or soft? Is there a rhythm that organizes its composition? What is its tonal quality? Using the eight elements of music, consider how visual properties produce aural sensations that imbue art objects with musicality.

  1. Dynamics – How loud or soft the music is

  2. Form – The order and arrangement of the parts of the music

  3. Harmony – The instruments that support the melody with chords

  4. Melody – A series of pitches that makes a tune

  5. Rhythm – How long or short a sound is

  6. Texture – The layers of sounds, how sparse or dense the music is

  7. Timbre – The unique sound quality of an instrument or sound

  8. Tonality – The overall sound of the music as pleasant or unpleasant