Art Historical Musing: Music as Therapy in Art

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The Power of Music &
The Madness of Art

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[slide 1:  Title.]
[slide 2:  Detail, Émile Wauters, Le Peintre du Rouge-Cloître (1872, oil on canvas, 6 x 9 ft [1.86 x 2.75 m]).  Royal Museums of Fine Arts, Brussels.]

Pity poor Hugo van der Goes.

[slide 3:  Émile Wauters, Le Peintre du Rouge-Cloître (1872, oil on canvas, 6 x 9 ft [1.86 x 2.75 m]).  Royal Museums of Fine Arts, Brussels.]

He fell into a funk, and his prior and fellow monks tried to cheer him up with “a melody…and other recreative spectacles.”1  While it can’t be known what music they chose, perhaps success would have been theirs had they performed something decidedly more upbeat.

[for slide 4, click here on Flashdance-What a Feeling.]
[slide 5:  Émile Wauters, Le Peintre du Rouge-Cloître (1872, oil on canvas, 6 x 9 ft [1.86 x 2.75 m]).  Royal Museums of Fine Arts, Brussels.]

In his 1872 painting, Le Peintre du Rouge-Cloître (known in English as The Madness of Hugo van der Goes), Belgian artist Émile Wauters illustrated the legendary story of an artist who, around 1475 at the age of about 39, checked himself into a monastery–the Red Cloister outside Brussels–and became “a brother conversi, a rank between a lay brother and a monk.”2  Within the space of about five years, he had what would now be called a nervous breakdown or psychotic break.3

[slide 6: Melancholy Healed by Music in Aldobrandino of Siena, Livres pour la santé garder (Régime du corps) (late 13th century).  The British Library, London.  Sloane MS 2435, fol. 10v.]

As perhaps the only extant case study (of sorts) from the early modern period (or any other time) of an artist’s descent into madness, Gaspar Ofhuys’s description of van der Goes’s malady has often been cited in discussions of melancholia and creativity, and music’s healing powers,4 two areas of interest that have extensive histories.  Each has also been a favorite subject of artists over the course of time.

[slide 7:  Detail, Émile Wauters, Le Peintre du Rouge-Cloître (1872, oil on canvas, 6 x 9 ft [1.86 x 2.75 m]).  Royal Museums of Fine Arts, Brussels.]

As Ofhuys relates the story, when van der Goes–a renowned late 15th century Northern European painter–was returning from an excursion to Cologne accompanied by a couple of fellow monks, “he incurred a strange mental disease…[H]e kept saying that he was a lost soul and was adjudicated eternal damnation; furthermore he was intent on injuring himself physically and committing suicide” and had to be “forcibly restrained by those who were standing by to help.”5

Based on that meager description of symptoms and the sparse biographical data available for van der Goes, attempts to reach a reliable diagnosis or even to discern precipitating factors are by necessity entirely conjectural.  In plunging into his suicidal state, however, the Flemish artist provided future writers (including Ofhuys, who made his own–mostly moralistic–guesses about causes and consequences) ample fodder for ruminating about the link between genius and insanity, and creativity and melancholia.

[slide 8:  Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, David with the Head of Goliath (1609-10, oil on canvas, 49¼ x 39¾ in [125 x 101 cm]).  Rome, Museo e Galleria Borghese.]

As far back as Classical Antiquity, descriptions of artists emphasized their peculiarities.6  In writing about a particular Greek sculptor, Pliny the Elder made sure to mention not only the artist’s nickname of “the Madman,” but also an “unrivaled devotion to the art” that led him to be a “severe critic of his own work” and to break his statues into pieces upon completion, “his intense passion for his art making him unable to be satisfied.”7

[slide 9: Michelangelo Buonarroti, restored and completed by Tiberio Calcagni, Bandini Pietá (1550-55, marble, height 7⅜ ft [2.26 m]).  Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, Florence, Italy.  Photo © Marie-Lan Nguyen.]

Michelangelo followed suit almost two millennia later when, unhappy with the sculpture, he took a mallet to a late-in-life Pietá.8  Shortly before he died, this great Renaissance man torched “a large number of his own drawings, sketches and cartoons to prevent anyone from seeing the labours [sic] he endured or the ways he tested his genius, for fear that he might seem less than perfect.”9

[slide 10:  Vincent van Gogh, Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear (1989, oil on canvas, 23⅓ x 19⅓ in [60 x 49 cm]).  The Courtauld Gallery, London.]

In more modern times at the end of the nineteenth century in the hills around Aix-en-Provence, a fortunate hiker might have chanced upon an unfinished painting by Paul Cézanne, hanging from a tree.  A brilliant colorist, Cézanne lamented near the end of his life that “even though I am already old, I am only a beginner.”  About his paintings he said, “they are imperfect things…I don’t capture the local colors.”10

That kind of driving passion was noted by Plato but ascribed only to those who practiced what he considered the higher art forms of poetry and music.11  As painters achieved more status during Hellenistic times, they were granted the same “inspired madness of which seers and poets are possessed.”12

[slide 11:  Adam Elsheimer, Minerva as Patroness of Arts and Sciences (c. 1600-1605, oil on copper, 3⅜ x 5¾ in [8.6 x 14.6 cm]).  The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, UK.]

According to the humoral theory of personality, artists could reach feverish states of creativity (Plato’s divine/creative mania13), energized by internal fires that when spent, left behind “remains [that] resembled black coals and polluted smoke,” plunging them into their more characteristic melancholic state.14

Adam Elsheimer, in his small copper painting, Minerva as Patroness of Arts and Sciences (c. 1600-1605), depicts Minerva in the emblematic pose of the melancholic, complete with shadowed eyes, and head resting wearily on her left arm and hand.  She bears a downturned, burned-out torch–of little use to the artist and scholars toiling away in the darkened interior, each with his own meager source of illumination.  The fire in the horizontally-centered brazier, now reduced to smoldering embers, adds a final touch to this representation of the cold, dark, blackness of the melancholic artistic temperament.15

Henry James’s short-story character knew well of this place when he exclaimed, “We work in the dark–we do what we can–we give what we have.  Our doubt is our passion and our passion is our task.  The rest is the madness of art.”16

A committed and acclaimed artist, Hugo van der Goes suffered similar “passions of the soul” and “was seriously weighted down by them…exceedingly worried about how he was to carry out the paintings he had undertaken.”17  In wondering about the origins of the artist’s breakdown, Ofhuys mentioned his ingesting “melancholy-inducing foods” and imbibing strong wine, “which burns the humors and turns them into ashes.”18

[slide 12:  Hugo van der Goes, The Portinari Altarpiece (1475, oil on wood, 8¼  × 4⅔ ft [2.53 × 1.41 m]).  Uffizi Gallery, Florence.]

Ofhuys also made much of Hugo’s exceptional status at the Red Cloister and the high esteem in which the artist was held.19  When the painter joined the monastery soon after completing The Portinari Altarpiece in 1475, he was allowed to bring his studio practice with him.  Granted special dispensation to receive devotees of his art–many of high rank like the Archduke Maximilian, the artist would join his aristocratic guests in luxurious suites built specifically for their convenience.20

Hugo’s special situation contrasted sharply with that of his fellows, who lived a far more austere life in an environment devoid of instrumental music, particularly that of the organ–all forbidden by monastery statutes.  Not surprising then, when Prior Thomas heard about the artist’s distress and ordered a musical remedy, he had it applied offsite, in advance of the brother’s returning home.21

[slide 13: Queen Mary Psalter, early 14th century.  British Royal Library.
Bible of Duke Borso d’Este, mid-15th century.  Biblioteca Estense Universitaria, Modena.]

The prior upon hearing of Hugo’s illness, left the cloister and caught up with the traveling party in Brussels.  “[A]fter confirming everything with his own eyes and ears, [he] suspected that [the artist] was vexed by the same disease by which King Saul was tormented.  Thereupon, recalling how Saul had found relief when David plucked his harp, he gave permission that a melody be played without restraint in the presence of brother Hugo, but also that other recreative spectacles be performed.”22

Prior Thomas had in mind the short passage in the Bible that describes the magic of David’s harp:

“And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand; so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him.”  (Italics in the original.)23

[slide 14:  Whistles Made of Reindeer Bones, Petersfels, Germany (c. 15,000 BP).  Badisches Landesmuseum, Karlsruhe, Germany.  Photo © Don Hitchcock.
Flute Made of Mammoth Ivory, Ulm, Germany (c. 30,000-37,000 BP, 7⅔ in [18.7 cm] in length).  Photo: © H. Jensen, University of Tübingen.]

While that might be the earliest documented use of music as an agent of healing, archeologists have unearthed an assortment of musical instruments from as far back as between 43,000 and 67,000 years ago that certainly had the potential to be used in a similar way.  The original context might have been their use in magical rituals to conjure up and control spirits.24

[slide 15:  Oinochoe with the Myth of Orpheus (ceramics, red figure).  Tuscania, Italy: Museo Archeologica.  © 2006, Scala, Florence / Art Resource, NY.]

Fast forward to classical antiquity and mythological texts to find references to incantations (perhaps closer to spells than songs) used for healing.  Although the music of Orpheus is reputed to have had great power, “there are no stories of his acting as a healer of the sick.”25

Seventh century BCE saw the deliverance of Sparta from plague through the music of a noted composer of paeans.  Several hundred years later, on the advice of an oracle, the possessed women of a couple of localities in southern Italy began to intone daily a great number of paeans in their quest for relief.  Communal holy songs, these verses acted by appeasing the angry gods behind the afflictions rather than affecting the person directly.26

[Slide 16:  Raphael, School of Athens (c. 1510-12, fresco, 19 x 27 ft [5.8 x 8.23 m]).  Stanza della Segnatura, Vatican Palace, Vatican State.  Erich Lessing / Art Resource, N.Y. & Detail of Pythagoras, School of Athens.]

It wasn’t until his disciples started handing down stories about the mathematician and mystic Pythagoras (who left nothing in writing) that using music to influence a distressed person’s mood came into its own.  As the tale went, the great teacher–accompanying himself on a lyre–sang paeans to his pupils in order to soothe them.  At times they all sang as one.27  By the fifth century BCE, much had already been written about the power of music to not only affect emotions but also to impact a developing young boy’s character.  Aggressive, frenzied music was suspect and proscribed.

[slide 17: Pier Francesco Mola, Mercury Putting Argus to Sleep (c. 1645-55, oil on canvas, 23⅛ x 39⅛ in [58.7 x 99.4 cm]).  Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College, Oberlin, OH.]

Not long after that, Plato (that great ascetic) picked up on the theme of music as character building or destroying, and issued some guidelines:

“Attunement, having motions akin to the circuits in our soul, has been given by the Muses to the intelligent user of the arts not for mindless pleasure, as it is fashionable to assume, but as an aid to bringing our soul-circuit, when it has got out of tune, into order and harmony with itself.  And rhythm likewise, in view of the unmeasured and graceless condition that comes about in most of us, was bestowed by them for the same purpose.”28

[slide 18:  Boethius, De Institutione Musica (early 6th century CE).]

Plato’s ideas about music’s potential for altering mood and behavior inspired other Greek and Roman writers to pick up on the theme,29 but it was the treatise De Institutione Musica by sixth century CE Roman philosopher Boethius that systematized all the previous material, making it readily accessible for later scholars.  By the Middle Ages, his manuscript on the subject had become compulsory reading for anyone studying at a higher educational level, where it constituted one quarter of the quadrivium along with the other mathematical disciplines of arithmetic, geometry and astronomy.30

In his medico-astrological treatise De Triplici Vita (The Three Books on Life) published in 1489, theologian, astrologer, physician, musician and magician, Marsilio Ficino, picked up where Plato left off.  With Saturn in a dominant position in his horoscope, this Renaissance man was highly motivated to find a system for overcoming his “seal of melancholy.”31

Believing in the magic of music, Ficino developed an astrologically based therapy founded on his idea that “sound and song easily arouse the fantasy, affect the heart and reach the inmost recesses of the mind…Nearly all living beings are made captive by harmony.”  Playing his lyre and singing helped him “banish vexations of both soul and body”32 and he endeavored to share his discovery with others.  For Ficino, earthly music intently played could connect the performer and the listener to the music of the heavenly spheres, completing a circuit that had power to heal body and soul, two entities not yet separated conceptually at that time.

While it’s possible that De Institutione Musica–with all its classical allusions–provided an additional frame of reference for Prior Thomas (besides the Bible) when he came up with a musical solution to the problem of his conversi’s critical imbalance, his adding to the prescription “other recreative spectacles”33 also indicates an awareness of the benefits to the melancholic of not just music, but also attractive diversions.34

[slide 19:  Gonzales Coques, The Artist in His Studio (1650, oil on canvas, 25½ x 32¼ in [65 x 82 cm]).  Staatliches Museum, Schwerin, Germany.]

When Gonzales Coques conceived the idea for his painting The Artist in His Studio (1650), Robert Burton’s Anatomy of Melancholy had already been published (in 1621, first in English) and widely referenced as the compendium of two millennia worth of knowledge and experience on the malady of melancholy.  Integrating the physical with the spiritual,35 it offered recommendations for treatment, among which music had a leading role.  “He advised students and scholars ‘to refresh their wearied minds with some sort of melody.  For so shall they drive away the dumpes [sic] of melancholie [sic] and make their spirits more lively to learn.’”36

Burton’s prescriptions for curing melancholy singled out pleasant surroundings like gardens and the viewing of Dutch maps, globes and landscape art as ways to lighten the burden on the intellect’s soul.37  Painters like Coques adopted those recommendations as subjects for their pictures.  In The Artist in His Studio, he placed in the artist’s hands a string instrument and situated him in front of a large landscape painting, scattering around the composition other music-making objects: a lute face down on the cabinet against the back wall, and a violin-cello leaning against a  keyboard.  Fruits of the vine and other produce rest on the floor nearby, symbolizing the pleasures of wine and nature as other popular remedies for the relief of melancholia.

[slide 20:  Frans van Mieris the Elder, The Artist in His Studio (1659, oil on panel, 23⅔ x 18½ in [60 x 47 cm]).  Staatliche Kunstammlungen, Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Dresden, Germany.]

Similarly, Frans van Mieris the Elder in The Artist in His Studio (1659) included in the easel painting a lounging figure with a lute by his side in a romantic classical setting of arches and columns.  In the studio foreground, a globe and a cello refer to additional anti-melancholy devices, and a statue further back of a writhing figure shows Hercules–one of the patron saints of melancholics–battling a snake.38

[slide 21:  Unknown (formerly attributed to Paul Bril), Self-Portrait of an Artist (c. 1595-1600, oil on canvas, 28 x 30¾ in [71 x 78 cm]).  Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, Rhode Island.]

In an anonymous Self-Portrait of an Artist (c. 1595-1600), the protagonist has put aside the tools of his trade, the fires of his creativity having been depleted by the effort to produce the large bucolic landscape that rests on his easel, and avails himself of some musical diversion in an attempt to combat the cold, bilious darkness of his melancholia.

[slide 22:  Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, The Old Song (1959, oil on canvas, 3⅓ x 5 ft [1.02 x 1.53 m)].  Courtesy Galerie St. Etienne, NY.  © The Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Trust.]

Music’s power to soothe has never gone out of fashion in artists’ studios, appearing on the canvases of such diverse Northern Europeans as the German expressionist Marie-Louise von Motesiczky and the great Dutch realist Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn.  Motesiczky in the touching portrayal of her mother in old age, The Old Song (1959), invites into her mother’s room a close friend and neighbor to play a harp for the bedridden woman.

[slide 23:  Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn, Saul and David (1655-60, oil on canvas, 4¼ x 5⅜ ft [1.3 x 1.64 m]).  Mauritshaus, The Hague, Netherlands.]

In one of Rembrandt’s paintings of the biblical story of Saul and David (1655-60), David concentrates intensively on his musical production, bending and turning his head to better catch the sounds emanating from his harp, while Saul dabs at his eye as if to wipe away a tear, his upset temporarily assuaged by the magic of the melody.  The ancients knew intuitively what contemporary neuroscience has begun to bear out, that music can have a salutary effect on mood.

[slide 24:  From Daniel J. Levitin, This is Your Brain on Music, © 2006.]

Advanced techniques of brain imaging have provided modern-day scientists with an increasingly more intimate understanding of the structures and functions of that mysterious organ between the ears.  Researchers, fascinated by the age-old importance of music to the human species, have determined that “musical activity involves nearly every [known] region of the brain…and nearly every neural subsystem.”39

Briefly stated, the processing of the sound of music begins with the auditory cortex, which sorts through its components.  Regions of the frontal cortex attend to the cognitive aspects of the experience, dealing with musical structure and expectations.  In the mesolimbic system, a part of the emotional center of the brain, the production of opioids and the reward neurotransmitter dopamine activates the nucleus accumbens, critical to the experience of pleasure, resulting in an uplifting state of arousal.  Meanwhile, in the cerebellum–the body’s keeper of the beat–and the basal ganglia (also involved in the brain’s reward system), rhythm and meter get registered.40

(slide 25:  Jan Steen, The Doctor’s Visit (c. 1660-65, oil on panel, 18⅛ x 14½ in [46 x 36.8 cm]).  Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA.]

Seventeenth-century doctors did not wait for the advent of neuroscience and its attendant revelations to include music in their medicine bag for not just melancholic men, but also for hysterical women who suffered from that long-ago-identified affliction known as the wandering womb, or hysteria.41  Dixon’s feminist approach to the study of melancholia invites viewers to consider gender-specific distinctions that artists made in their portrayals of women suffering the blues–reflections of the intellectual milieu of their times.

While the status of the enervated man was elevated to that of suffering genius, the symptomatic woman was understood as little more than a passive vessel for her uterus, “an independent animal capable of appetites and movements beyond the control of body or mind.”42  In his The Doctor’s Visit (c. 1660-65), Netherlandish artist Jan Steen captured perfectly the medical lore of the time as expressed in theme of the “lovesick maiden.”43

In the picture, a young woman in the iconic head-resting-listlessly-on-hand pose, turns her glazed eyes expectantly in the direction of the doctor who–still holding his gloves (an indication that he has just arrived to deal with the emergency) takes her pulse.  A far more alert young woman plays a harpsichord nearby while staring intently at the painting’s subject, watching to see if the music was having any effect.  No glow emanates from the foot warmer in the foreground, a symbol of the spent fires of melancholia.

To potentiate the musical medicine, Steen added a young male caller (the love antidote) who is welcomed in by a servant, and a jokester (the mirth remedy) dangling a fish behind the sick woman.44  A contemporary audience would have recognized allusions to other medical practices, and physicians would have enjoyed even more.45

[slide 26:  Copy after Jan Steen, Lady at a Clavichord (after 1661 or 1664, oil on canvas, 25¼ x 21¾ in [64.1 x 55.2 cm]).  Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA.]

The same artist, in Lady at a Clavichord (after 1661 or 1664–a copy of a lost original), explored again the role of music as a balm for melancholia associated with lovesickness, though this time the victim is a man.  Holding a less-than-half-full glass of wine, and supporting the weight of his head in that now familiar position, he looks longingly at the woman meeting his eyes as she turns the page of a score with one hand and rests the fingers of her other on the keys of a clavichord.  In the near background, another young man (or boy) reaches up to retrieve a lute from the wall, perhaps to hand the sufferer so he can respond to the songs of his love.

[slide 27:  Hugo van der Goes, Portrait of a Man (c. 1475, oil on wood, 12½ x 10¼ in [31.8 x 26 cm]).  The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY.]
Hugo van der Goes, A Benedictine Monk (c. 1478, oil on wood, 9⅞ x 7⅜ in [25.1 x 18.7 cm]).  The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY.]

Love’s painful longings pale in comparison with suicidal ideation, and it’s unknown just how effective was the “melody…played without restraint…[and] other recreative spectacles”46 in the face of Hugo van der Goes’s severe distress.  Ofhuys, amid his sermonizing about God’s compassionate nudge of the painter in the direction of more humility, describes how “[t]he brother, realizing this himself abased himself very much as soon as he regained his health, leaving the table at our refectory…and abjectly obtaining his meals with the laiety [sic].”47  In the end, the renowned converso relinquished his privileged position and probably ceased his entertainment of aristocratic admirers in refined quarters.

[slide 28:  Hugo van der Goes, Death of a Virgin (c. 1470–80, oil on panel, 4 × 4¾ ft [1.23 × 1.48 m]).  Groeningemuseum.  Bruges, Belgium.
Hugo van der Goes, Trinity Altarpiece (c. 1478-79, oil on panel, each panel: 6⅔ x 3¼ ft [2.02 x 1.01 m]).  National Galleries Scotland, Edinburgh, Scotland.]

It’s uncertain whether Hugo painted again after the breakdown he suffered a couple of years before he died in 1482.  Writers have been unable to resist the temptation to retrospectively identify in his masterpieces indicators of a troubled personality.48  But that type of analysis belongs to the field of art not music therapy, a project for another time.
1 Gaspar Ofhuys, “Extract from Originale Cenobii Rubeevallis in Zonia Prope Bruxellam in Brabancia,” translated by William A. McCloy in “The Ofhuys Chronicle and Hugo van der Goes” (PhD diss., State University of Ohio, 1958), 20.
2 Rudolf and Margot Wittkower, Born Under Saturn: The Character and Conduct of Artists: A Documented History from Antiquity to the French Revolution (New York, NY: Random House, 1963), 108.
3 Ibid., p. 109.
4 See for example: Peter Murray Jones, “Music Therapy in the Later Middle Ages: The Case of Hugo van der Goes” in Peregrine Horden, ed., Music as Medicine: The History of Music Therapy since Antiquity (Hants, England: Ashgate Publishing Ltd., 2000), 120-144; Laurinda S. Dixon, The Dark Side of Genius: The Melancholic Persona in Art, ca. 1500-1700 (University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University, 2013), 121; and Wittkower,108-13.
5 Ofhuys in McCloy, 19-20.
6 Wittkower, 7.
7 Pliny the Elder, Natural History, translated by D. E. Eichholz (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press and London: William Heinemann, 1949-54), Vol. 10, Book XXXIV, 14.
8 Anna Mazzanti, The Art of Florence in Its Great Museums (Florence, Italy: Scala, 1997), 97.
9 Giorgio Vasari, The Lives of the Artists, translated by Julia Conaway and Peter Bondanella (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1998), 472.
10 Michael Doran, ed., Conversations with Cézanne, translated by Julie Lawrence Cochran (Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press, 2001), 20.
11 Wittkower, 4-5.
Wittkower, 98.
Ibid., 103.
14 Dixon, 14-15.
15 Ibid., 119.
16 Henry James, “The Middle Years,” Scribner’s Magazine 13:4 (April 1983), 620.
17 Ofhuys in McCloy, 22.
18 Ibid., 21.
19 Ibid., 16-17.
20 Ibid., 18.
21 Peter Murray Jones, “Music Therapy in the Later Middle Ages: The Case of Hugo van der Goes” in Peregrine Horden, ed., Music as Medicine (Brookfield, VT: Ashgate Publish Ltd., 2000), 123.
22 Ofhuys in McCloy, 20.
23  “I Samuel 17:23,” The Holy Bible, King James Version (New York: The World Publishing Co., n.d.), 216.
24 Martin West, “Music Therapy in Antiquity” in Music as Medicine, 51.
25 Ibid., 54.
26 Ibid., 54-55.
27 Ibid., 55.
28 Plato, Timaeus, 47d, quoted in West, “Music Therapy in Antiquity,” 58.
29 West, “Music Therapy in Antiquity” in Music as Medicine, 59-66.
30 Peregrine Horden, “Commentary on Part II, with a Note on the Early Middle Ages,” in Music as Medicine, 104.
31 Angela Voss, “Marsilio Ficino, the Second Orpheus,” in Music as Medicine, 156.
32 Ibid., 161.
33 Ofhuys in McCloy, 20.
34 Dixon, The Dark Side of Genius, 143-178.
35  Ibid., 3.
36 Robert Burton quoted in Dixon, The Dark Side of Genius, 148.
37 Dixon, The Dark Side of Genius, 152.
38 Ibid., 154 and 156.
39 Daniel J. Levitin, This is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession (New York, NY: Penguin Group Inc., 2006), 4.
40 Ibid., 187.
41 Laurinda S. Dixon, “Together in Misery: Medical Meaning and Sexual Politics in Two Paintings by Jan Steen” in Jane L. Carroll and Alison G. Stewart, eds., Saints, Sinners, and Sisters: Gender and Northern Art in Medieval and Early Modern Europe (Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing Co., 2003), 250-51.
42 Ibid., 250.
43 Ibid., 246.
44 Ibid., 256.
45 Ibid., 249.
46 Ofhuys in McCloy, 20.
47 Ibid., 23.
48 Erwin Panofsky, Early Netherlandish Painting: Its Origins and Character, Volume I (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1964), 330-343.  He identifies “somber pathos” as “the very signature of Hugo’s genius.” (342); McCloy sees the 1902 attribution of The Death of the Virgin to van der Goes as inevitable. (115).