Learn How Painting Connects With Music Today

Is there something similar that you have noticed between painting and music? The words harmonious in nature, wonderful, and soothing can all be attributed to both fields. It is no wonder why both painting and music are considered “art” but in different fields– painting is visual arts while music is performing arts. Nevertheless, they’re both made to create meaning and purpose in a person’s life. In today’s article, we will be learning how painting connects with music and find out different painters who are also musicians, as well as musicians who are also into painting.

A painting of three rock stars on the street of Minneapolis


It is no longer a surprise that most painters were fond of music while most musicians were also painting enthusiasts. Interestingly, if you are keen on the field of art, you’ll notice that a lot of songs are inspired by artworks while a lot of paintings are also inspired by songs or musicians. For instance, musician Don McLean, famous for the song American Pie, dedicated a song to Vincent van Gogh entitled Vincent. McLean wrote the song after reading a biography of the painter which made him emotional and led to a greater appreciation of the life of the painter. The song got so popular that the handwritten lyrics of the song were auctioned for more than a million dollars! 

On the other hand, Pablo Picasso’s painting entitled Three Musicians was inspired by the music of Stravinsky’s Pulcinella., which featured commedia dell’arte figures including a Pierrot, a Harlequin, and the famous French poet Guillaume Apollinaire. These two mentioned are just a few examples among the many of how painting connects with music.

Famous Musicians Who are Also Fond of Painting:

    1.  David Bowie:

Considered as one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century, David Bowie was a man of many things: a musician, an actor, and above all, a painter. Known for his massive contribution to the glam rock genre due to his music and taste of fashion, Bowie was also an artist before his music phase. He studied arts and design when he was in college and since then, he was known for his wide art collection and avant-garde style in painting.


A multi colored painting of David bowie

    2.  Kurt Cobain:


Although he is known for being the front man of the most influential grunge rock band of the 90s known as Nirvana, Cobain was also a gifted visual artist fond of painting macabre which reflected his drug use, troubled childhood, and parental issues. If you’re a big fan of the band, you would notice that most of their early music album art covers are paintings that Cobain painted himself. 


A photo of a cd artwork of the nirvana group album

    3.  Stevie Nicks:


One of the most iconic female rock stars of all time, Nicks is known for having an ethereal stage persona and being a singer for the band Fleetwood Mac. Other than being a musician, Nicks is also a painter; a great one. The subjects in her paintings are usually mythical creatures and angels. 


A black and white painting of Steve nicks on stage

    4.  Joni Mitchell:

Whenever we think about Joni Mitchell, the first few things that pop into our minds are her incredible talent in music–singing and songwriting. However, she is more than that. She’s a woman of many things and being a gifted painter is one of those. Her talent in painting is also evident in her music as most of her works are featured as her album covers. Truly a wonderful example of how painting connects with music.

A black and white photo of Joni Mitchell


Famous Painters Influenced by Music and Musicians

    1.  Georgia O’Keeffe:

She believed that music and painting were highly related to each other and that painting served as a translation of music made for the human eye. Her love for music was very evident with her artworks as most of her paintings’ titles are references to music. For instance, her oil painting on canvas created in 1918 is entitled Music, Pink and Blue No. 2

A painting of inventing abstraction by Georgia O' Keffee

    2.  Keith Haring:

A popular name to the Pop Art movement and social activism, Haring is also known for his love for music. Many of his artworks and murals are inspired by musical bands and songs. Haring was a big hip-hop music fan and he usually painted while listening to different groups such as Run DMC through his boombox. Due to his popularity within the New York art scene, he also worked with other artists who also had connections with music such as Jean-Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol. Moreover, he was also friends with musicians like Madonna and Grace Jones, with whom he collaborated on art/musical projects.

A Keith haring murals art graffiti

    3.  Wassily Kandinsky:

The pioneer of the abstract art movement also had a deep connection with music. How his painting connects with music is very evident as most of their titles contain references to music, often called composition or improvisation. His paintings were the visual translation of music, almost as if the sounds were converted into colors. Thus, his artworks were a reflection of music: he created a symphony of colors that are emotionally powerful, harmonious, abstract, and spiritual. 

A painting of composition viii by Wassily Kandinsky

    4.  Henri Matisse:

This French painter is also a sculptor, printmaker, and above all, a music lover. He was known for his contributions to the expressionism and post-impressionism art movements. Thus, the majority of his artworks are inspired by great musicians like Beethoven, Bach, and Mozart. He was a big fan of the classical and jazz genres and oftentimes, he would paint while playing concertos in the background, according to historians.


Key Insights

Though many people think that music and painting are completely separate fields of art, they’re wrong. The above-mentioned examples are just some of the many ways painting connects with music. For your next art project, try to listen to music that you love and see if there are any differences in your mood, color choices, brushstroke consistency, creativity, and alike. We hope that we inspire you to create art with music on your ears to let your imagination flow harmoniously.


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