The Gesture of Listening to Music

Myth and Tradition have so strongly stylized the gesture of the seer that on television and advertisements it can be observed daily and everywhere how it has become a pose (for example the pose of the statesman energetically fixing his gaze towards the stars). Through Rodin the gesture of the thinker has become a cliché. On the other hand, the gesture of the listener seems at first sight not to be similarly stereotyped, even though it is related to that of seeing and thinking, in so far as it is not a matter of a movement but a position of the body. However, if we take a look at mediaeval iconography from the standpoint of gesture, then we are confronted with the gesture of listening as one of the central themes. It is Mary’s gesture at the conception, the gesture of being fertilized by the word (logos). Mary “receives”, that means she hears a voice. We can learn something from observing how the gesture changes with the onset of the Renaissance. In the Gothic period it is the gesture of someone who is surprised and called; in the Renaissance it is that of the resolved, hearing Mary. If it is a matter of listening to music, the Renaissance gesture is important for us and we must observe Ghirlandaio and not Giotto. (click here for full article)

“The Gesture of Listening to Music”
(Read whole article here)