Symbolism Sunday: Revisiting The Trumpet

November 28, 2010

1680 Slide with Memento Mori Symbolism

I know I covered this one briefly last month, but last week we looked at the harp in symbolism, so let’s carry through the musical flavour and play some more music on the trumpet!

Yes, the trumpet is quite often found in early modern jewellery, those of you who have mourning or sentimental pieces from the 17th century would more than likely have a piece with a cherub blowing a trumpet set under your faceted crystal. Quite a popular motif in the earlier days of the industry, but less so as the Neoclassical movement ushered in less direct symbols for death. So, the memento mori pieces would often have the cherub, the trumpet and a skeleton or depiction of death, but what more can we tell about it?

Resurrection is the main concept of its ideal symbol, but also when used in other contexts, victory (it’s hard not to think of a military fanfare without a trumpet) is the reason for the symbol. But also, there’s new life triumphing over death when used in some symbolism, but the concept of that is really the prerogative of the person who wore/commissioned it.

Trumpets are one of the earliest recorded musical instruments, so it’s not surprising to find that they have many uses in art history. Most commonly is the used as a symbol of heraldry, this when linked back with the cherub/angel symbols shows the arrival of the soul into heaven.

So, a rather fun one this week! Go enjoy your Sunday and listen to some good music with trumpets in it.

Previously on Symbolism Sunday:

The Harp


The Acorn

The Male

The Woman

The Three Graces

Faith, Hope and Charity

The Clover

The Willow

The Column

The Hourglass

The Serpent

The Dove

The Dog

The Angel

The Marigold / Lily

25 Responses to “Symbolism Sunday: Revisiting The Trumpet”

  1. […] Rings, Memento Mori and the Evolution of the Symbol > Queen Mary II Memento Mori Slide > Symbolism Sunday: Revisiting The Trumpet 0.000000 0.000000 GA_googleAddAttr("AdOpt", "1"); GA_googleAddAttr("Origin", "other"); […]

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