The Sorrows of Aminta, c. 1625
Oil on canvas, 39 3/8 x 47 1/4 in.
(100 x 120 cm)
Musée du Louvre, Paris. Gift of Paul Jamot, 1937
“O Grief, who tortures me so, why have you not yet killed me?” These words are written on the open musical score, a madrigal based on Torquato Tasso’s Aminta. In this popular dramatic poem, the shepherd Aminta mourns the death of his love, the nymph Silvia. Here the painter shows Aminta playing the recorder as his companion Thyrsis—or perhaps his friend the nymph Daphne—finds solace in the music. This picture is among the most poetic responses to Caravaggio’s early work, capturing its subtle ambiguities. Is this a painting of a performance, or do we witness a scene from the tragedy itself? Are the figures acting, or are they actually lost in grief? Cavarozzi reveals his sympathy for Caravaggio’s practice by finding a similar balance between reality and the imagination.
Click on the image to see the full painting.