The Age of Enlightenment
Discovering the world: rationalist thinking and practice
All higher levels of society were imbued with the wish of the time for a basic and critical erudition.
All higher levels of society down to the bourgeoisie were imbued with the wish of the time for a basic and critical erudition. Literature, theatre and music became essential features of elite culture. Portraits of the enlightened times, including also the now intellectually-respected women, signal erudite noblesse as well as sentimental attitudes. The latter is grounded on a new individual sensualism toward the beauty of poetry and nature, made possible by abandoning the allegorisation of life and the environment. A rare and curious result of this movement, propagated also by Rousseau’s natural philosophy, is Johann Michael Millitz’s painting of a noble couple posing naked as Adam and Eve.
Model of the Bologna Municipal Opera Theatre

1756
Museo Internazionale e Biblioteca della Musica
Bologna, Italy
Giovanni Battista Martorelli and Antonio Gambarini
Sculpted, painted and gilded wood
The erection of a new communal opera house in Bologna shortly after the mid-18th century, was a public affair and, therefore, is a good example of the higher-ranking citizens interest in musical culture during the enlightened era. The wooden model was presented to the public as a preview of what was envisaged.