Giovanni Battista Passeri
Musical Party in a Garden, 1640s
Oil on canvas.
With its open courtyard, Mediterranean light, and fragments of ancient sculpture, the setting of this picture is typical of a garden on the outskirts of Rome. Although the precise meaning of the scene is obscure, it expresses an ideal shared by the elite intellectual circles in Rome: past and present come to simultaneous pictorial life, then are transformed again by the ideal ordering of the classical tradition. Myth, idyll, classical genre scene, probably even self-portrait – the gentleman in black in the lower right – are compounded in this fascinating and poetic picture.