Caravaggio and the music of his age

Date and time

Thursday 10 November, 1–1.45pm

Sainsbury Wing Theatre

Roderick Swanson


Admission free 

Caravaggio's novel use of chiaroscuro and his dramatic expressions of the human condition have strong parallels with the music of his age.

Madrigals distorted music to portray more vividly human emotions, and opera emerged as a way of exploring the human condition. Resisted at first by the Church, this new emotionalism crept from the secular into sacred music, just as Caravaggio was painting some of his most powerful religious images.

Looking at both, side by side, can give a rich picture of the age in which Caravaggio, Monteverdi, Torquato Tasso and others lived.

Roderick Swanston

Roderick Swanston is a lecturer, writer and broadcaster. His programmes, such as the 'History of British Music', two series on 'Wagner and Verdi' and over 20 interviews entitled 'Behind the Masque'. He was Professor at the Royal College of Music until 2004 and Visiting Professor at Dartmouth College in 1995 and 1999. Currently he broadcasts, mostly on Radio 3, lectures part-time at Imperial College and for Dartmouth College (USA) London Programme and writes occasionally for BBC Music Magazine, Gramophone, and the Wagner magazine.

Lunchtime talks

Focus in on one painting with our talks in the Gallery, or explore wider themes in the collection at our in-depth theatre talks.

Image above: Detail from Hendrick ter Brugghen, The Concert, about 1626