'The Musicians', c1595. Artist: Michelangelo Caravaggio
'The Musicians', c1595. One of a number of realistic paintings of half-length figures painted in Rome for aristocratic patrons. Although it was described by contemporaries as simply una musica (music piece), it is an allegory of music. Cupid, who is always in the company of music (Vasari), is shown at left with a bunch of grapes, because music was invented to keep spirits happy, as does wine (Ripa). The costumes have a vaguely classical look. The immediacy of this painting was achieved by the intense and theatrical lighting. Part of the collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
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