Date of Award


Degree Name



College of Arts and Media

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Vicki Stroeher

Second Advisor

Ann Bingham

Third Advisor

Terry Dean


This thesis is an interdisciplinary study of the impact pastoral themes in art, literature, and music had on the stylistic and thematic development of the late-Renaissance English madrigal (ca. 1590–1620), specifically works by Elizabethan composers. Madrigals were profoundly influenced by poetry and visual art as the basis for text and subject matter. Consequently, many English madrigals, both light and serious forms, cultivated Arcadian themes presented in Italian idyllic art and literature of the late-fifteenth and early-sixteenth centuries. Works discussed throughout each chapter include Jacopo Sannazaro’s poetic collection, Arcadia (ca. 1489), Edmund Spenser’s seasonal eclogues, The Shepheardes Calender (1579), Oliver Isaac’s portrait of Elizabeth I and the Three Goddesses (ca. 1590), Francis Pilkington’s madrigal “Rest, Sweet Nymphs” (1605), and Thomas Tomkin’s ballett “See, See the Shepherds’ Queen” (1622), among others. Analyses of rustic imagery, such as landscape, allegory, and expressive tone, in individual works draw thematic connections between pastoral repertoires throughout Europe, which affected the English pastoral tradition.


Madrigals -- 16th century -- History and criticism.

Madrigals -- 17th century -- History and criticism.

Pastoral art.