In the preface to his Septem sacramenta (1878–1884), Franz Liszt acknowledged its stimulus — drawings completed in 1862 by the German painter J. F. Overbeck (1789–1869). This essay explores what Liszt likely meant by his and Overbeck’s “diametrically opposed” approaches and speculates on why the composer nonetheless acknowledged the artist’s work. Each man adopted an individualized treatment of the sacraments, neither in line with the Church’s neo-Thomistic philosophy. Whereas the Church insisted on the sanctifying effects of the sacraments’ graces, Overbeck emphasized the sacraments as a means for moral edification, and Liszt expressed their emotional effects on the receiver. Furthermore, Overbeck embedded within his work an overt polemical message in response to the contested position of the pope in the latter half of the nineteenth century. For many in Catholic circles, he went too far. Both works experienced a problematic reception. Yet, despite their works’ reception, both Overbeck and Liszt believed they had contributed to the sacred art of their time. The very individuality of Overbeck’s treatment seems to have stimulated Liszt. True to his generous nature, Liszt, whose individual voice often went unappreciated, publicly recognized an equally individual voice in the service of the Church.
Editor(s)-in-Chief: Péter BOZÓ (Institute for Musicology, Research Centre for the Humanities, Budapest, H)
Review Editor: Lynn HOOKER (Purdue University, West Lafayette, USA)
Martin ELEK (University of Oxford, Oxford, GB)
Belinda ROBINSON (University of Cambridge, GB)
Viktória OZSVÁRT (Institute for Musicology, Research Centre for the Humanities, Budapest, H)
Patrick DEVINE (Maynooth University, Maynooth, IRL)
Anja BUNZEL (Institute of Art History, Czech Academy of Sciences, CZ)
William A. EVERETT (Conservatory University of Missouri-Kansas City, USA)
Márta GRABÓCZ (University of Strasbourg, Strasbourg, F)
Denis HERLIN (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Paris, F)
János KÁRPÁTI (professor emeritus, Liszt Academy of Music, Budapest, H)
Katalin KOMLÓS (professor emerita, Liszt Academy of Music, Budapest, H)
Valeria LUCENTINI (University of Bern, CH)
Tatjana MARKOVIĆ (Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Wien, A)
Pál RICHTER (Institute for Musicology, Research Centre for the Humanities, Budapest, H)
László SOMFAI (Institute for Musicology, Research Centre for the Humanities, Budapest, H)
László VIKÁRIUS (Institute for Musicology, Research Centre for the Humanities, Budapest, H)
István Csaba NÉMETH (Institute for Musicology, Research Centre for the Humanities, Budapest, H)
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2020 Volume 61
Magyar Tudományos Akadémia
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