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
International Museum and Music Library
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.