Concerto di giovani (1597)

Caravaggio (1571-1610)

Concerto di giovani (The Musicians)
Oil on canvas, 92.1 x 118.4 cm
Metropolitan Museum of ArtNew York

While Cupid confirms Caravaggio’s allegorical frame for representing Music, the artist equally engages with contemporary performance and individualized models, including a self-portrait in the second boy from the right. Caravaggio’s contemporary, Giovanni Baglione, recorded that the artist painted “a concert, with some youths portrayed from nature very well” immediately after joining the household of his first great patron, Cardinal Francesco Maria del Monte. Most likely, this is the same painting and is one of several employing the half-length, earthy yet sensual figures with which Caravaggio made his name upon arriving in Rome. (MET)