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About the Artwork

These musicians appear to be serenading a gathering in a grand salon from an upper balcony. Their instruments and sheets of music protrude over the ledge and cast shadows on the feigned architecture.

The fresco has recently been identified as the work of Giorgio Vasari. While most of his frescoes were produced for religious or civic institutions, he occasionally provided decorations for private interiors (for example, he painted frescoes for the palace of Bindo Altoviti). It is possible that this fresco was made in Naples in 1545 for Tommaso Cambi, a merchant and collector originally from Florence, who was also a close friend of Vasari. The handling of the figures resembles Vasari’s other frescoes done in Naples (for example, the refectory of Monteoliveto), while similar musicians can be found in his Marriage of Esther and Ahasuerus of 1549 (Museo Statale di Arte Medievale e Moderna, Arezzo).

Source: Eye of the Beholder, edited by Alan Chong et al. (Boston: ISGM and Beacon Press, 2003): 89.

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