Allegory of Music

Laurent de La Hyre French

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 622

La Hyre animated his serene paint surface with a composition organized around the dramatic sweep of the theorbo—a kind of lute—and the sophisticated rhythm of antique columns, tree trunk, and organ pipes across the background. The allegorical figure of Music tunes her instrument as a metaphor for harmony. The songbird represents a contrast between nature’s voice and the human voice ruled by musical theory and practice, indicated by the sheet music and instruments on the table. The French Royal Academy’s first historian described this work among representations of the seven Liberal Arts commissioned for the Parisian mansion of Gédéon Tallemant (1613–1668), a high-ranking administrator serving Louis XIV.

#2652. Allegory of Music

Allegory of Music, Laurent de La Hyre (French, Paris 1606–1656 Paris), Oil on canvas

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