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Date of Award

Spring 1989


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Document Type

Thesis: EWU Only

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA) in Interdisciplinary Studies




The history of the musical arts is filled with the names of composers, like Mozart and Haydn, who shared a common artistic style and temperament. Such musical colleagues derived a certain amount of mutual influence and inspiration through their friendship. In the same spirit, several art historians have tried to place two seventeenth century masters, the composer--Heinrich Schlitz and the artist---Rembrandt van Rijn, together in Amsterdam in 1633. Even though the historical records virtually preclude their possible meeting, the association of their names focuses on a common source of the subject matter of each master's work--the Bible. Their historical position is best expressed by one art historian as, "the two great original interpreters of the Bible--one for the eye, the other for the ear."¹ This thesis compares the works of each man during three chronological periods in their respective careers. In each period it was determined that each master's style paralleled the other's stylistic development. Collectively their styles reflected the influence of various cultural stimuli of the seventeenth century. These stimuli include: the stylistic transition from the late Renaissance to the early Baroque, the continuing religious conflict of the Protestant Reformation, the rising influence of French classicism, and finally, the tragic events in each master's personal life. Stylistically, the music and painting of their early years typically show the exuberance and activity of youth characterized as dramatic realism. The biblical narrative is related in a realistic style stressing the dramatic content of the text. Then as both Schutz and Rembrandt entered their middle years, their works became more classical. As there was a renewed interest in the ideals of Antiquity, their music and art expressed the valves of simplicity, clarity, and restraint within a balanced, symmetrical, and proportional formal design. Finally in their late years, each man works represent a synthesis and a completion of their creative enterprise. In old age, they brought the totality of their creative powers and imagination to express the most profound and perhaps puzzling message of their artistic enterprises. In conclusion, both masters, Heinrich Schutz and Rembrandt van Rijn, independently of each other developed parallel stylistic manifestations of similar cultural and religious orientations