VERONESE, Paolo
(b. 1528, Verona, d. 1588, Venezia)

Music, Astronomy and Deceit

1556-57
Oil on canvas, diameter 230 cm
Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana, Venice

This tondo belongs to a series of 21 such circular pictures adorning the ceiling of the great room of the Libreria Vecchia.

This central tondo is introduced by a kneeling female figure who, holding a flute in her left hand, turns her head to gaze upwards. Presumably, she represents music. Assigned to her is a young woman, who is studying a book with astronomical plates. Standing on a sheet of music, she appears to be listening to the sounds of heaven. On the right, the scene concludes with a woman examining a book with geometrical diagrams. The back of her head is covered by the mask of an old man.

Suggested listening (streaming mp3, 5 minutes):
Don Carlo Gesualdo: Motet