Eyes and Ears
At the Metropolitan Museum, early music in the galleries.
BY ALEX ROSS
The sixteenth-century art historian Giorgio Vasari describes a picture by Fra Bartolomeo—“The Mystic Marriage of St. Catherine,” at the Pitti Palace—in which two child angels are seen playing stringed instruments. One of them, Vasari writes, is a lutenist painted “with a leg drawn up and his instrument resting upon it, and with the hands touching the strings in the act of running over them, an ear intent on the harmony, the head upraised, and the mouth slightly open, in such a way that whoever beholds him cannot persuade himself that he should not also hear the voice.”