Non-Surgical Strike

09.16.13 9:03 PM ET

NSFW, in 1641?

The Daily Pic: In his portrait of a castrato, Andrea Sacchi let a well-hung Apollo make up for the singer's loss.

In honor of the glorious rehang of the Metropolitan Museum’s European Old Masters, and of the museum’s new Monday hours, this will be the first of the Daily Pic’s “Met Mondays”, a series to run over weeks to come. I want to start with an image that, you could say, is less about art-for-art’s-sake than about achieving an almost practical goal, as is so often the case with pre-Modernist art. In 1641, the painter Andrea Sacchi depicted the great castrato singer Marcantonio Pasqualini being crowned in his art by Apollo – who happens to have the most prominent Old Master penis I know of, staring us right in the face. (Please don’t bombard me now with more prominent ones.) I can only read Sacchi’s gesture as deliberate compensation for Marcantonio’s loss, with the implication that the glory of his art makes the singer as whole as his Olympian patron. I wonder how Marcantonio felt about it?

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