(b. 1571, Caravaggio, d. 1610, Porto Ercole)

The Musicians

Oil on canvas, 92 x 118,5 cm
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

The two figures seen frontally are undoubtably portraits, and this fact disorients those who would like to make a conventional reading of the scene and concentrate on the noble, classical character of the composition, organized around the traditional opposition between the figure of the lute player and the corresponding figure whom we see from behind. The face between these two is Caravaggio's; the figure on the left is taken from an earlier composition (Young Peeling a Pear) which we know only from copies.

Suggested listening (streaming mp3, 2 minutes):
Thomas Weelkes: Madrigal (Springtime Song)