It breaks the barriers of the traditional figurative art. The means of representation as colour, form, and line represent only themselves, they don't need a natural model any longer (Autonomy of pictorial means).
Music had been a popular motif already in early fine arts when mostly music scenes with religious reference were represented. However, already in ancient times we find secular pictures of music playing people f.e. in Egypt as symbol of courtly refined lifestyle on frescos and tomb walls. Representations of music in Rome and Greece – often as part of mystery scenes – testify the high social reputation of music. The Middle Ages brought forth many representations of music playing angels, secular representations of music can be found in manuscripts of songs respectively Minstrels' manuscripts. The genre paining of the 16th century depicts music scenes realistically, in the baroque period the first portraits of famous composers are created.