This study will investigate representations of women and music in artworks from sixteenth-century Italy. It will draw on the concept of personification as exemplified in Cesare Ripa’s (c. 1560–c. 1645) influential Iconologia. Personification allegory, a term used by literary and art historians to denote the process and outcome of creating an allegory through personification, was often utilized by artists in early sixteenth-century. This study will analyse different artworks based on the theories of early scholars of music iconography, combined with the work of more recent scholars. The case studies in this thesis will explore the forms in which music appears in artworks, such as types of instruments and posture of performance. Also, the symbolism of musical elements will be explored in relation to their historical and cultural context to complement the personification allegory. This study will follow and develop the current state of methodology and approach of music iconography. Moreover, the existing multiple findings on the interdisciplinary study of music and art will be continually referenced and examined in the case studies. Through examining a selection of artworks as case studies, this thesis aims to have findings that make a strong contribution to the developing area of research into women and music. Moreover, the results of this study may be able to suggest regional characteristics of female iconography in the early sixteenth century, and thus provide further insights into the connection between gender and culture.


Yujie is a PhD candidate at the School of Music. She concluded her Bachelor of Music studies in China in 2019 where she became inspired to investigate the intersections between music and art. Yujie graduated from her Master’s Degree at The University of Queensland in 2021 and she continues to explore topics of gendre in context of music iconography and art history. 


About 2022 Research Seminar Series

Research seminars are presented by current staff, higher degree by research candidates and visiting academics. 

The seminar series showcases the work of our higher degree by research candidates and provides valuable professional development opportunities for undergraduate and coursework students who are interested in research. Visiting scholars are regularly invited to address staff and students, and the seminars are open to the public. Please register by following the link in the session below that you wish to attend.


School of Music, Room 460