Marcantonio Pasqualini (1614–1691) Crowned by Apollo

Artist: Andrea Sacchi (Italian, Rome (?) ca. 1599–1661 Rome)

Date: 1641

Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 96 x 76 1/2 in. (243.8 x 194.3 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Purchase, Enid A. Haupt Gift and Gwynne Andrews Fund, 1981

Accession Number: 1981.317

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 637
A celebrated male soprano, Pasqualini is crowned by Apollo, who had been victorious in a musical contest with the satyr Marsyas (shown in the background, defeated and tied to a tree with his bagpipes beside him). Pasqualini joined the choir of the Sistine Chapel in 1630, and from 1632 was a protagonist in many operas produced at the Palazzo Barberini. Sacchi designed sets for some of these. The singer plays an upright harpsichord decorated with the figures of Daphne and a bound satyr; Apollo is loosely based on the famous ancient sculpture known as the Apollo Belvedere.
Marc'Antonio Pasqualini (1614–1691) was perhaps the leading castrato (male soprano) of his day and was also a composer. Following his training at the French national church of San Luigi dei Francesi in Rome, he came to the attention of Antonio Barberini, who is cited as the singer's protector upon his entry into the Sistine Choir in 1631. During the following decade he starred in most of the operas staged by the Barberini in their palace, establishing a reputation for vocal brilliance as well as arrogance (on his career, see especially Cametti 1921). Patricia Waddy ("Barberini Cardinals need Places to Live," in I Barberini e la cultura europea del Seicento, ed. Mochi Onori et al., Rome, 2007, p. 492) indicates the location of Cardinal Antonio's suite of rooms in the great Barberini Palace near the Quattro Fontane that were dedicated to music and his collection of musical instruments (i.e., the stanza de Cimbali contained six keyboard instruments and a guitar); Pasqualini's two private rooms were in the north wing attic. Pasqualini set to music the poetry (ariette) Cardinal Antonio wrote (see Karin Wolfe, "Ten Days in the Life of a Cardinal Nephew . . . ," in Mochi Onori et al., Rome, 2007, pp. 253, 262 nn. 13–14; for a survey of his compositions, see Murata 2007, pp. 378–79).

Sacchi's portrait of Pasqualini dates from about 1640. The date of the picture is established by studies for the figure of Apollo on the verso of a sheet with preparatory drawings for Sacchi's canvas of the 1639 celebrations at Il Gesù, for which he was paid in November 1641 (The Met, 2003.109). The earliest description of the work is by Bellori (1672–96, p. 568), who observed: "Andrea [Sacchi] applied his greatest industry in the portrait of Marc'Antonio Pasqualini, a famous soprano in his day and a close friend in the court of Cardinal Antonio Baberini. This is not a simple portrait but a most beautiful conceit, [Sacchi] having shown [Pasqualini] in the costume of a shepherd with Apollo who crowns him. He places his hands on a spinet, or rather an 'arpicembalo' with keys, and the cords upright in the guise of a harp, and while playing he turns to display his face, most beautifully painted from life. . . . Opposite is shown Apollo, who with one hand places the crown of laurels on [the singer's] head and with the other holds a lyre at his side. On the ground lies a bound satyr, to signify his competition and punishment."

Sacchi's portrait combines features of contemporary musical practice with allegory to produce a picture that can be read on several levels (see Christiansen 1982, Ford 1984, and Camiz 1988). The resemblance of the composition to Poussin's virtually contemporary design for a frontispiece for a book on Virgil in which Apollo crowns the Roman poet has been noted (Camiz 1988, p. 182). However, Bellori understood Pasqualini's costume to be that of a shepherd, and a comparison with those worn by the figures performing a ballet of shepherds and nymphs in the Falconieri palace in 1634 (The Met, 30.58.5(91-103)) bears this out. The costume doubtless evoked one of Pasqualini's roles in addition to referring to the bound figure of Marsyas. The instrument he plays is a rare type of clavicytherium, or keyed harp, that gave a delicate, sweet sound suitable to chamber performances (see Van der Meer 1978 and Ford 1984, pp. 82–83). One such instrument is listed in the Barberini inventories (M. Lavin, Seventeenth-Century Barberini Documents and Inventories of Art, 1975, p. 156), and Sacchi may, in fact, show a specific clavicytherium on which Pasqualini performed. Similarly, the table, supported by three dolphins reminiscent of Bernini's Triton Fountain outside the Palazzo Barberini, may have existed. It is a solo performance such as Pasqualini had so often given that Apollo awards, but one elevated to a mythic status by its contrast to Marsyas's punishment for his bold and unsuccessful challenge to a musical contest on his rustic pipes (here shown as bagpipes such as a real shepherd might use). This picture admits the viewer into the world of late Renaissance-early Baroque musical practice. Himself a musician, Sacchi was a close friend of Pasqualini and designed some of the stage sets and props for his performances. The pose of the figure of Apollo was clearly inspired by the celebrated ancient statue known as the Apollo Belvedere in the Vatican, but as the drawing in The Met’s collection (2003.109) demonstrates, Sacchi studied the pose from a live model. He is documented as having maintained in his studio an open "accademia del nudo" for the purposes of drawing from nude models, one of whom—il caporal Leone—was much admired for the perfection of his physique and the lively poses he struck. (On this practice, see P. Cavazzini, Painting as Business in Early Seventeenth-century Rome, University Park, 2008, pp. 70–80).

No similarly elaborate portrait of a castrato is known prior to Corrado Giaquinto's and Jacopo Amigoni's depictions of the celebrated eighteenth-century singer Farinelli, and considerable interest attaches to the identity of the person who commissioned it. Any member of the Barberini family may be excluded, since there is no record of a payment for it in their account books and no mention of it in their inventories (the picture is first listed in the collection of the Marchese Niccolò Pallavicini in 1700). Giulio Rospigliosi, who wrote a number of the libretti for Barberini operas, has been suggested as a candidate (Harris 1977, p. 83), but this cannot be demonstrated; the most probable candidate is Pasqualini himself, whose friendship with Sacchi and vain character accord perfectly with the self-adulation implicit in the imagery. Indeed it now appears that in the seventeenth century musicians emerged not only as outstanding personalities but also as significant patrons: the composer and harpist Marco Marazzoli commissioned an ambitious allegory of Music from Lanfranco that he later gave to Antonio Barberini (Camiz 1988, p. 183; see fig. 1 above).

Keith Christiansen 2015
?cardinal Giulio Rospigliosi, later Pope Clement IX, Rome (until d. 1669); marchese Niccolò Maria Pallavicini, Palazzo Pallavicini, Rome (until d. 1714; inv., 1714, no. 381; his estate, 1714–at least 1720); Sir Robert Furnese, 2nd Baronet, Waldershare Park, Kent (by 1728–d. 1733); his cousin, Henry Furnese, Gunnersbury Park, Middlesex (until d. 1756; his estate, 1756–58; sold privately with Guido Reni's "Liberality and Modesty" to Spencer); John, 1st Earl Spencer, Wimbledon, Surrey (1758–d. 1783); the Earls Spencer, Spencer House, St. James's Place, London and Althorp, Northampton (1783–1975); [Wildenstein, New York, until 1981; sold to MMA]
Leeds City Museum. "National Exhibition of Works of Art," 1868, no. 200 (as by Andrea Sacchi, lent by Earl Spencer).

London. Royal Academy of Arts. "Works by Holbein & Other Masters of the 16th and 17th Centuries," December 9, 1950–March 7, 1951, no. 459 (lent by Earl Spencer).

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "A Caravaggio Rediscovered: The Lute Player," February 9–April 22, 1990, no. 18.

Rome. Palazzo delle Esposizioni. "L'idea del bello: Viaggio per Roma nel Seicento con Giovan Pietro Bellori," March 29–June 26, 2000, Sacchi, no. 6.

Gio[vanni]. Pietro Bellori. Vita di Guido Reni, d'Andrea Sacchi e di Carlo Maratti. n.d. [Bibliothèque Municipale, Rouen, ms. 2506; published in "Le vite inedite del Bellori," ed. Michelangelo Piacentini, Rome, vol. 1, 1942, p. 68], attributes this picture to Andrea Sacchi, noting that Marc'Antonio Pasqualini was a famous soprano and a close friend of Sacchi's in the court of Antonio Barberini; remarks that it is not a simple portrait but an extremely beautiful conceit ("vaghissimo componimento"); identifies Pasqualini's costume as that of a shepherd.

Pietro Rossini. Il Mercurio errante delle grandezze di Roma, tanto antiche, che moderne. 2nd rev. ed. Rome, 1700, p. 87, lists it in the collection of the marchese Niccolò Pallavicini in Rome.

Mrs. Richardson, père & fils. Traité de la peinture. Vol. 3, Description de divers fameux tableaux, desseins, statues, bustes, bas-reliefs. . .. Amsterdam, 1728, vol. 3, p. 713, notes that it was purchased from the Pallavicini collection by "Monsieur Furness" (Robert Furnese).

Lione Pascoli. Vite de' pittori, scultori, ed architetti moderni. Vol. 1, Rome, 1730, p. 16, says that it was painted for the marchese Pallavicini and was recently sold by his heirs and sent to England.

Edward Wright. Some Observations Made in Travelling through France, Italy, &c. in the Years 1720, 1721, and 1722. London, 1730, p. 295, notes that the picture was copied by Pietro da Pietris [Pietro de' Pietri].

George Vertue. Unpublished manuscript. Vol. 24, 1740 [Notebook A.x., 1736–41; published in Walpole Society 24 (1935–36), p. 164], lists it among the pictures of Robert Furnes[e] that he saw on a visit to the collection of "the present Mr. Furnes[e]" [Henry] in 1740.

Horace Walpole. Journals of Visits to Country Seats. Vol. 16, 1751–58 [published in Walpole Society 16 (1927–28), p. 14], records it at Wimbledon sometime after 1758.

Horace Walpole. Letter to Sir Horace Mann. February 9, 1758 [published in "Horace Walpole's Correspondence with Sir Horace Mann," W.S. Lewis, ed., New Haven: Yale University Press, vol. 5, 1960, pp. 172–73 n. 17], mentions that it was purchased by John Spencer for £2200 with a Maratta [?sic for Guido Reni] at the auction of Henry Furnese's collection.

Charles Le Blanc. Catalogue de l'oeuvre de Robert Strange, graveur. Leipzig, 1848, pp. 28–29, 42, follows Strange's engraving of 1755 in calling it "Apollo Rewarding Merit and Punishing Arrogance".

A. Cametti. "Musicisti celebri del Seicento in Roma: Marc'Antonio Pasqualini." Musica d'oggi 3 (1921), p. 97, suggests dating it about 1645.

Hans Posse. Der Römische Maler Andrea Sacchi. Leipzig, 1925, pp.106–9, compares it to a theater scene, noting that it is known only through Strange's engraving; identifies a drawing in the Kupferstichkabinett, Berlin, as a preliminary study for the figure of Apollo.

Anthony Blunt and Hereward Lester Cooke. The Roman Drawings of the XVII & XVIII Centuries in the Collection of Her Majesty the Queen at Windsor Castle. London, 1960, p. 67, catalogue Maratti's red chalk drawing after it.

Gerald Reitlinger. The Economics of Taste. Vol. [1], The Rise and Fall of Picture Prices, 1760–1960. London, 1961, p. 8.

Kenneth Garlick. "The Earls Spencer, Althorp, England." Great Family Collections. Ed. Douglas Cooper. New York, 1965, p. 211, as purchased with Guido Reni's "Liberality and Modesty" at the Furnese sale.

Ann Sutherland Harris and Eckhard Schaar. Die Handzeichnungen von Andrea Sacchi und Carlo Maratta. Düsseldorf, 1967, pp. 44–45, publish a sheet of studies for the drapery of Pasqualini which they date about 1634–35; note that the drawing mentioned by Posse is not for this picture; suggest that the MMA work may have been painted for Cardinal Giulio Rospigliosi, noting that Maratta may have known it when he first worked with Sacchi in 1636.

Frances Vivian. Il Console Smith mercante e collezionista. Vicenza, 1971, p. 8, states incorrectly that the picture was sold after the death of Pallavicini to Lord Spencer.

Clovis Whitfield. England and the Seicento. Exh. cat., Thomas Agnew & Sons, Ltd. London, 1973, unpaginated, under no. 49, mentions its sale together with Guido Reni's "Liberality and Modesty" to John Spencer.

Evelina Borea, ed. Le vite de' pittori, scultori e architetti moderni.. By Giovanni Pietro Bellori. Turin, 1976, p. 568 n. 3.

Kenneth Garlick. "A Catalogue of Pictures at Althorp." Walpole Society 45 (1976), pp. xiv, 41, 75–76, no. 579, pl. 28, notes that it has been considerably enlarged above and below; states that a copy of this picture is recorded in the 1783 catalogue of the Colonna collection (no. 894), and that it was copied twice by Charles Jervas, who inserted an identical keyboard instrument in his portrait of Elizabeth Churchill (no. 513).

Ann Sutherland Harris. Andrea Sacchi. Princeton, 1977, p. 46 n. 73, 55–56 n. 1, 82–84, no. 51, 91, fig. 89, notes that it cannot have been painted for the marchese Pallavicini, who was only born in 1650, as the picture probably dates to the late 1630s; believes this picture was intended to flatter Pasqualini's talents generally rather than to commemorate a particular occasion; speculates that Giulio Rospigliosi commissioned the work since "the allegorical content of the portrait and the obvious formal allusions to classical art, both rare in Sacchi's work, are also found in the works that Poussin painted for . . . Rospigliosi in the late 1630s"; states that about 15 cm have been added to the top and 30 cm to the bottom of the canvas, perhaps to make it closer to the size of Guido's painting [Liberality and Modesty] that hung opposite it at Althorp House; notes that Apollo's drapery has been extended to cover his genitals [this overpaint has since been removed]; discusses a number of copies and engravings after the work.

Andreina Griseri. "Arcadia: crisi e trasformazione fra Sei e Settecento." Storia dell'arte italiana. Vol. 6, part 2, vol. 2, Turin, 1981, p. 590, fig. 469, dates it 1636–40 and describe it as a work of "emblematic perfection".

Keith Christiansen in The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Notable Acquisitions, 1981–1982. New York, [1982], pp. 40–41, ill. (color), reviews Pasqualini's career, interpreting the picture as an allegory of music that celebrates both Pasqualini's own achievements as a musician and the 'nuova musica,' with its emphasis on the accompanied voice; notes that it was "presumably" commissioned by Rospigliosi.

Franca Camiz. Letter to Keith Christiansen. June 28, 1982, comments on the close affinity between this work and the Barberini collection, pointing out that a similarly decorated instrument and table are mentioned in the Barberini inventories; notes that Margaret Murata discounts the possibility that the picture commemorates a specific opera, but confirms that the white tunic worn by Pasqualini is a choir tunic; suggests that the leopard skin may be a trophy that Apollo has taken from Marsyas and awarded to Pasqualini; mentions that she and Murata are puzzled by the Rospigliosi connection in earlier scholarship, as "he is not the type that would commission paintings".

Margaret Murata. Letter to Keith Christiansen. June 29, 1982, wonders whether the picture might not, after all, have been painted for Antonio Barberini; notes that Pasqualini's activity as a composer was more important than has been recognized; expresses discomfort with the idea that the picture represents the triumph of "nuove musiche" and conceives of it rather as the "confirmation of the new style by the classical figure [Apollo] that engendered it".

Howard M. Brown. Letter to Keith Christiansen. April 14, 1982, confirms that the instrument represented in the picture is a clavicytherium and suggests that the presence of Marsyas and Daphne on the instrument firmly connects it to Apollo.

Terry Ford. "Andrea Sacchi's 'Marc'Antonio Pasqualini Crowned by Apollo'." RIdlM Newsletter 7 (Spring 1982), pp. 2–7, ill., interprets the painting as an exaltation of the type of music Pasqualini played as well as his character; sees the three-legged table as a tripod, underscoring Pasqualini's virtuous character; identifies the instrument as a rare clavicytherium, or upright harpsichord [ill. and discussed in Marin Mersenne, Harmonie universelle, 1636–37, pp. 113–14].

Denys Sutton. "Aspects of British Collecting, Part II: V, New Trends." Apollo 116 (December 1982), pp. 361–62, 372 n. 17, fig. 8.

Michael Kitson. "Review of 'Tercentenary of Claude Lorrain'." Burlington Magazine 125 (March 1983), p. 186.

Important Old Master Drawings. Christie's, London. April 12, 1983, p. 44, under no. 64.

Terry Ford. "Andrea Sacchi's 'Apollo Crowning the Singer Marc Antonio Pasqualini'." Early Music 12 (February 1984), pp. 79–84, ill.

Andrew Porter. "Musical Events: Voices of Rome." New Yorker (May 21, 1984), p. 122, observes that "it seems to me a thoroughly Barberini picture in scale, spirit, and detailed content".

Antonio d'Avossa. Andrea Sacchi. Rome, 1985, fig. 54, erroneously locates it at Althorp House.

Frederick Hammond. "More on Music in Casa Barberini." Studi musicali 14 (January 1986), p. 242, suggests that the prominence of Marsyas in this portrait may commemorate Pasqualini's participation, albeit at the age of fourteen, in Ottavio Tronsarelli's 1628 "dramma per musica, Marsia" at the unfinished palace of the Quattro Fontane; adds that "Marsia" was published in 1631 and dedicated to Cardinal Francesco Barberini.

Joe Friedman. "Spencer House." Apollo 126 (August 1987), p. 90 n. 12, 91, ill., notes that our picture and Reni's "Liberality and Modesty" hung in the Great Room at Spencer House, London, which was designed by James "Athenian" Stuart.

Steffi Röttgen in Guido Reni und Europa: Ruhm und Nachruhm. Ed. Sybille Ebert-Schifferer, Andrea Emiliani, and Erich Schleier. Exh. cat., Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt. Frankfurt, 1988, pp. 552–53, ill., notes the influence of Reni in the presentation of the two standing stationary figures in a shallow space, and in the idealized characterization of Apollo, directly based on Reni's "Allegory with Liberality and Modesty" in the Falconieri collection; observes that Pepper dates Reni's "Allegory" 1637–38, and that the MMA picture must post-date it.

Charles Dempsey in Pietro Testa, 1612–1650: Prints and Drawings. Ed. Elizabeth Cropper. Exh. cat., Philadelphia Museum of Art. Philadelphia, 1988, pp. lix, lx, ill., describes the figure of Apollo as "an extreme interpretive idea of softly feminine beauty" that is "Neoclassic avant la lettre".

Franca Trinchieri Camiz. "The Castrato Singer: From Informal to Formal Portraiture." Artibus et Historiae no. 18 (1988), pp. 178–83, ill. (overall and detail), dates it 1641–42, based on the compositional debt to Claude Mellan's 1641 engraving, after a drawing by Poussin, of "Apollo Crowning the Poet Virgil"; notes that Apollo with the laurel wreath is the most obvious reference in seventeenth-century iconography to poetic achievement; suggests that Sacchi's allegorical and symbolic construction seems to exalt Pasqualini's achievements as a poet/composer beyond his fame as a singer/performer; believes that Pasqualini is being celebrated as a "symbol of the kind of intellectualized and rationalized music which embodies man's civilized nature, in contrast to the barbarous and savage aspects symbolized by Marsyas"; compares it to Caravaggio's "Lute Players"; believes that the portrait was most likely commissioned by Pasqualini himself, possibly after his triumph in the opera "Il Palazzo Incantato" of 1642; suggests that the singer presented the picture to Rospigliosi on the occasion of the latter's election to the papal throne.

D. Stephen Pepper. Guido Reni: l'opera completa. Novara, 1988, p. 289, notes that this picture and Reni's "Liberality and Modesty" seem to have been imported from Italy before 1730.

Ursula V. Fischer Pace in La pittura in Italia: il Seicento. Ed. Mina Gregori and Erich Schleier. Milan, 1989, vol. 2, p. 875.

Laurence Libin. "Keyboard Instruments." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 67 (Summer 1989), p. 9, ill. (color).

A Selection of French Paintings 1700–1840 Offered for Sale. Exh. cat., Matthiesen Fine Art Ltd. London, 1989, p. 121, fig. 1, under no. 41.

Keith Christiansen. A Caravaggio Rediscovered: The Lute Player. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1990, pp. 80–82, no. 18, ill. (color), dates it about 1640; observes that it was most probably commissioned by Pasqualini himself, "whose friendship with Sacchi and vain character accord perfectly with the self-adulation implicit in the imagery"; confirms Bellori's [see Ref. 1692–96] identification of the costume with that of a shepherd based on comparison with the costumes in an engraving after Sacchi by François Collignon (fig. 34) representing a ballet of shepherds and nymphs in the Falconieri palace in 1634; believes the instrument may be a specific clavicytherium on which Pasqualini performed and that the table supported by three dolphins may also have existed.

Milton Esterow. "Masterpiece Theater." Art News 89 (Summer 1990), pp. 135–37, ill. (color).

Nicoletta Guidobaldi. "'Non un semplice ritratto': Marcantonio Pasqualini, Apollo e Marsia in un dipinto di Andrea Sacchi." Musica e immagine tra iconografia e mondo dell'opera: studi in onore di Massimo Bogianckino. Ed. Biancamaria Brumana and Galliano Ciliberti. Florence, 1993, pp. 137–49, fig. 1.

Frederick Hammond. Music & Spectacle in Baroque Rome: Barberini Patronage under Urban VIII. New Haven, 1994, pp. 52–53 n. 45, 98 nn. 37–38, 190, 201, 203, ill. (frontispiece), believes it was painted for the Barberini, noting, specifically, that "Apollo symbolizes the favor of the Barberini, personified in Apollo as the poet-pope" and that "Daphne recalls not only the origin of the laurel of Apollo and the Barberini but also Maffeo Barberini's moralizing inscription for the base of Bernini's 'Apollo and Daphne'"; calls the instrument depicted in the portrait a "minor organological mystery"; suggests the picture may commemorate the singer's participation in Ottavio Tronsarelli's 1631 musical drama "Marsia".

Ann Sutherland Harris in The Katalan Collection of Italian Drawings. Exh. cat., Vassar College. Poughkeepsie, 1995, p. 104, dates this painting about 1640, linking it to studies of the figure of Apollo in the 1983 Christie's sale, and now in the Katalan Museum (cat. no. 45) [see Ref. Christiansen 1983]; notes that the verso of this sheet includes studies for Sacchi's painting "Urban VIII visiting the Gesù on October 2, 1639," for which the artist received payment in 1641.

Stella Rudolph. Niccolò Maria Pallavicini: L'ascesa al tempio della virtù attraverso il mecenatismo. Rome, 1995, pp. 32–33, 193 n. 77, p. 229, no. 381, colorpl. 5, suggests that this picture was acquired by Pallavicini on the advice of Carlo Maratti, and publishes Pallavicini's 1714 inventory in which it is listed under no. 381 and described as ". . . Apollo crowning a shepherd. . .".

Katharine Baetjer. European Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art by Artists Born Before 1865: A Summary Catalogue. New York, 1995, p. 133, ill., as "Marcantonio Pasqualini (1614–1691) Crowned by Apollo".

Patrizia Tosini in Museo d'Arte Antica del Castello Sforzesco. Vol. 3, Milan, 1999, pp. 275–77, catalogues the copy in the Castello Sforzesco, Milan; dates the original to the end of the 1630s and believes that Maratti was almost certainly responsible for its transfer from the collection of Rospigliosi to that of Pallavicini.

Patrizia Tosini in Andrea Sacchi, 1599–1661. Exh. cat., Forte Sangallo. Rome, 1999, pp. 71–72.

Ann Sutherland Harris in L'idea del bello: Viaggio per Roma nel Seicento con Giovan Pietro Bellori. Ed. Evelina Borea and Lucilla de Lachenal. Exh. cat., Palazzo delle Esposizioni. Rome, 2000, vol. 1, p. 75, ill. on cover in color; vol. 2, pp. 449–50, no. 6 under Sacchi, ill. (color), dates it about 1640 and claims that this type of allegorical portrait was emulated by Maratti and others.

Diane H. Bodart. "La Chronique des Arts." Gazette des beaux-arts nos. 1576–77 (May–June 2000), p. 17.

Alte Meister. Dorotheum, Vienna. March 22, 2001, unpaginated, under no. 13.

Fredrika Jacobs. "(Dis)assembling: Marsyas, Michelangelo, and the Accademia del Disegno." Art Bulletin 84 (September 2002), pp. 429, 432, ill. (color), describes the statuette placed on the keyboard of the clavicytherium as a "Marsyas religatus," or bound Marsyas.

Todd P. Olson. "'Long Live the Knife': Andrea Sacchi's 'Portrait of Marcantonio Pasqualini'." Art History 27 (November 2004), pp. 696–722, ill., believes the sacrifice of Marsyas may be a myth associated with artistic production and that Sacchi enlists Marsyas here to make broad claims about art—including his own—in which artistic practice "is imagined as the torture of a debased Other, a self separated from the Self"; asserts that the cutting of Marsyas was identified with castration and that his mutilation here makes visible the castration that was the precondition for Pasqualini's art.

Keith Christiansen. "Going for Baroque: Bringing 17th-Century Masters to the Met." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 62 (Winter 2005), pp. 45, 47–48, fig. 43 (color), ill. inside back cover (color detail).

Arnaldo Morelli in Roma barocca: Bernini, Borromini, Pietro da Cortona. Ed. Marcello Fagiolo and Paolo Portoghesi. Exh. cat., Museo Nazionale di Castel Sant'Angelo, Rome. Milan, 2006, p. 309, fig. 1 (color).

Christophe Marcheteau de Quinçay. Didon abandonnée de Andrea Sacchi. Exh. cat., Musée des Beaux-Arts de Caen. Caen, 2007, pp. 25, 29 n. 120, dates it to the late 1630s, erroneously referring to two versions of the picture, at Althorp and the MMA; mentions it in connection with a painting (private collection) attributed to Carlo Maratta, possibly a contemporary copy after an original by Sacchi, of Bacchus and Ariadne, where the pose of Bacchus is similar to that of Apollo in the Museum's picture.

Margaret Kimiko Murata. "A Topography of the Barberini Manuscripts of Music." I Barberini e la cultura europea del Seicento. Ed. Lorenza Mochi Onori et al. Rome, 2007, p. 379, colorpl. XL.

Francesco Petrucci. Pittura di ritratto a Roma: il Seicento. Rome, [2008], vol. 1, pp. 178, 180, fig. 260 (color); vol. 2, p. 379; vol. 3, pl. 658.

Keith Christiansen in Philippe de Montebello and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1977–2008. New York, 2009, p. 37.

Franco Mormando. Bernini: His Life and His Rome. Chicago, 2011, pp. 120–21.

Keith Christiansen. "La création tardive d'une collection de peintures baroques au Metropolitan Museum of Art / Creating a Baroque Collection at the Metropolitan Late in the Game." Aux origines d'un goût: la peinture baroque aux États-Unis / Creating the Taste for Baroque Painting in America. Paris, 2015, pp. 66–67, 71–72, fig. 1 (color, cropped).

Andrea Bayer. "Better Late than Never: Collecting Baroque Painting at The Metropolitan Museum of Art." Buying Baroque: Italian Seventeenth-Century Paintings Come to America. Ed. Edgar Peters Bowron. University Park, Pa., 2017, p. 137.

The frame is from England and dates from about 1756–66 (see figs. 2–4 above). This very refined, carved and gilded Neoclassical-inspired frame is constructed of pine with mitred corners. The pearl and reel carved sight edge ornament is repeated on the far side of the acanthus and lotus carved reverse ogee. A row of egg and dart ornament rises to the delicate husk and palmette applied to the hollow within the narrow flat fillet at the top edge. On the outside a running carved acanthus drops down to the deep scotia with a row of pearling at the midpoint. A final row of egg and dart adorns the back edge. The mitres are overlaid with corner leaves. This is the original frame in the Grecian taste designed by James Stuart for the refurbishment of Spencer House, London. The original surface was a pale bluish-grey color. This overgilding was applied more recently.

Timothy Newbery with Cynthia Moyer 2017; further information on this frame can be found in the Department of European Paintings files
From at least the time the picture hung at Althorp House, the canvas was extended considerably at the top and somewhat less at the bottom so that it would be closer in scale to Guido Reni's Liberality and Modesty (Garlick 1976, pl. 28) in the same collection; both works were acquired from Henry Furnese's estate. At some point (in 1837, according to an inscription on the back of the canvas) Apollo's drapery was enlarged to cover his genitals and overpaint in this area was removed before the painting was purchased by the MMA; the extensions to the canvas were removed during cleaning, following its purchase by the Museum.
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