Thursday, October 11, 2018

Marcantonlo Pasqualini Crowned by Apollo

From The Metropolitan Museum of Art Guide, 1983 page 170.

Click to enlarge.

19 ANDREA SACCHI, Roman, 1599-1661
Marcantonlo Pasqualini Crowned by Apollo
Oil on canvas; 96 x 76'/ in. (243.8 x 194.3 cm)

Marcantonio Pasqualini (1614-1691) was perhaps the leading male soprano (castrato) of his day as well as a composer. He began his career at the age of nine, and in 1630 he joined the Sistine choir under the sponsorship of Cardinal Antonio Barberini. Like Sacchi, Pasqualini was a member of the Barberini household, and he was a principal singer in the operas performed in the Barberini palace. Here, he wears the costume associated with pastoral roles and plays an upright harpsichord. Apollo, the god of music, holds a laurel wreath over his head to signify his achievements, while at the right is the satyr Marsyas, who had unsuccessfully challenged Apollo in a musical contest. The satyr's presence underscores Pasqualini's triumph. Characteristic of Sacchi, the leading classical painter in Rome in the second quarter of the seventeenth century, are the carefully balanced design of the work and the intentional contrast between the richly painted figure of Pasqualini and the smooth, enamel-like treatment of Apollo. Purchase, Enid A. Haupt Gift and Gwynne Andrews Fund, 1981, 1981.317

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