When Music Was Revered: art review of ‘Painting Music in the Age of Caravaggio’

February 16, 2015 8:09 PM

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When Music Was Revered: art review of ‘Painting Music in the Age of Caravaggio’

Assaulted by the cheapening torrent of music piped into contemporary life, we have forgotten that distant time when music was precious because the only way to hear it was live. During the age of that epochal Italian painter and short-lived bad boy, Michelangelo Merisi, called Caravaggio (1571-1610), music wasn’t a mere entertainment—it was a revered art.

At the Metropolitan Museum of Art, a small exhibition, “Painting Music in the Age of Caravaggio,” asserts that the three paintings of musical performances on display—Caravaggio’s “The Musicians” (c. 1595); “The Lute Player” (c. 1626) by Valentin de Boulogne (1591-1632), Caravaggio’s leading French f...

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