Caravaggio in Bergamo
22.05 – 31.08.2020

New York and Bergamo are looking to the future together, through the lens of art and solidarity.

The two cities, both at the very heart of the pandemic, have become the symbols of a new beginning.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York has offered The Musicians by Caravaggio on loan to the museum in Bergamo until the end of summer. This is a great gesture of international generosity and it has enabled the Accademia Carrara to reopen its doors and welcome the public with a wonderful surprise.


These are by no means easy times also for the world of culture. Just as we are thinking about how to reshape our future, museums too are doing their bit, to fulfil their inherent social function, opening themselves up to the community.

La Carrara is preparing to do just this, remaining true to its origins and history.

The reason for exhibiting the work of a great Italian artist like Caravaggio, who is and always has been loved across the world for his ability to involve and captivate, is to focus attention on the importance of culture, through which one can find one’s own identity, overcome difficulties, and open up to the world once again. In the painting, the three young men – one of whom is a self portrait of the artist – are engaged in a musical performance, in line with a long-standing custom. The scene is decidedly modern, with one figure, viewed from behind, whose appearance can be surmised from the barely outlined profile. It is a sophisticated image, but also one that is rich in details from the real world, heralding one of the artist’s most original areas of investigation.

The work, now in the most important museum in the United States, testifies to the close bond between the Carrara and the Metropolitan Museum and to the solidarity that unites Bergamo and New York, two cities that are being sorely tested by the health crisis.

The Musicians brought to an end the exhibition dedicated by the Accademia Carrara to Simone Peterzano, a pupil of Titian and the master of Caravaggio – an event that had to close just three weeks after it was opened. La Carrara is coming back to life with its collections and with this act of generosity by the Metropolitan Museum, whose support made it possible to exhibit this youthful painting by Caravaggio at the very centre of the gallery.

M. Cristina Rodeschini direttore Accademia Carrara Bergamo


It is a pleasure that we at The Metropolitan Museum have been able to lend Caravaggio’s musicians to the Accademia
Carrara—for the second time (the first was in 2000, to Caravaggio: La luce nella pittura lombarda. We have had a long relationship
with the premier institution of Bergamo—home to one of the most exquisite collections in Italy. The Metropolitan’s relations have
been both institutional and personal, ranging from exhibition projects to research. Thanks to the curatorial expertise of the
Accademia Carrara and the support of the Banca Popolare di Bergamo, we were able in 2000 to present to an American public
The still lifes of Evaristo Baschenis: the music of silence, and in 2012 we hosted an exhibition highlighting a group of outstanding
paintings from the collection. What The Metropolitan Museum and the Accademia Carrara share is a commitment to promoting an
appreciation for the still understudied field of north Italian painting—the cradle of Caravaggio’s revolutionary art. It was for this
reason that we were so keen to lend The musicians to the exhibition exploring the work of his teacher, Simone Peterzano—alas,
the victim of the pandemic. And we look forward to our continued work together.
Keith Christiansen Chairman of the Department of European Paintings The Metropolitan Museum of Art New York


Michelangelo Merisi, detto il Caravaggio
(Milano, 1571 – Porto Ercole 1610)
I musici, 1597
92×118,5 cm
New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art


The painting was made for Cardinal Francesco Maria Del Monte, who took the young Caravaggio into his home in Rome in the spring of 1597. The eminent prelate was a refined music lover and, when the artist painted the work, he was inspired by the musical entertainment that his illustrious patron put on in his residence in Palazzo Madama. The painting shows three youths, dressed in the old-fashioned style, who are preparing to perform a piece of music that has recently been identified as a six-voice madrigal by Pompeo Stabile, a Neapolitan composer who was close to the circle of Cardinal Del Monte. The verses, by Jacopo Sannazzaro, celebrate the ultimate destiny of Icarus: “Well may he be happy with such ruin; / If soaring like a dove / through o’erweening valour / he was quenched and died: / And now his name re-echoes far and wide / Across the sea, thro’ a vast element / Who else has ever had so wide a tomb?”

Caravaggio adopts an iconographic scheme commonly used in Venice and Lombardy, which he learnt from his master, Simone Peterzano, a painter of musical subjects. As in Peterzano’s works, the musicians are joined by Cupid, the god of Love, who is identified by his wings. One of the players is Caravaggio himself, who portrays himself in the background as the young man playing the cornett.


Paolo Plebani



The reopening of the museum is scheduled from Friday to Sunday, starting from 22 May


Friday | 3 p.m. – 10 p.m.

Saturday | 10 a.m. – 7 a.m.

Sunday | 10 a.m. – 7 a.m.

Monday 1 June | 3 p.m. – 7 a.m.

Tuesday 2 June | 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.


How to access the museum:

– Book your access to the museum
Contact us at: +39 328 1721727 | |
*free service.


Buy your ticket in advance from

* booking fee €1.50 per person.


Call Centre +39 0354920090
Monday-Friday: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Saturday: 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Guided tour of the picture gallery. Duration: about 90 min. – IT €100 | EN €120


Full: €10

Valid from 26 years of age (also for over-65s)


Reduced: €8

Valid from 18 to 25 years

Adult groups, booked in advance (10 persons max)

Army and law-enforcement personnel (with identification card)

Rondaservice Srl and Fidelitas SpA employees

Teachers of schools of all levels

University students of Art History