Collection Online
Portrait group: The singer Farinelli and friends

Portrait group: The singer Farinelli and friends
(c. 1750-1752)

oil on canvas
172.8 × 245.1 cm
inscribed in brown paint (diagonally) (on brushes) c.r.: G. Amiconi
inscribed in black paint (diagonally) (on pedestal) c.l.: P. Metastasio
inscribed in black paint (diagonally) (on sheet music) l.c.: Teresa Castellini
inscribed in black paint (on sheet music) c.: C. B. F.
inscribed in black and white paint (vertically) (on dog's collar) c.r.: C. B. F.
Accession Number
International Painting
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Felton Bequest, 1950
This digital record has been made available on NGV Collection Online through the generous support of Digitisation Champion Ms Carol Grigor through Metal Manufactures Limited
Gallery location
17th to 18th Century European Paintings Gallery
Level 2, NGV International
About this work

This striking portrait presents the renowned Italian castrato Carlo Broschi (1705–82), called Farinelli, when he was singing at the court in Madrid during the early 1750s. Farinelli sits at the centre of an intimate circle of friends, including Teresa Castellini, the prima donna of the Madrid opera; the Abate Metastasio, Farinelli’s lifelong friend and the librettist for many of his most famous performances; and the artist, who stands behind Farinelli. The singer was reportedly in love with Castellini who was about to leave Madrid and return to Italy when this portrait was made. It is thus a lament and a celebration of friendship.

Subjects (general)
Musical Portraits Relationships and Interactions
Subjects (specific)
circles (social groups) Farinelli, Carlo Broschi group portraits librettists opera (music genre) opera singers self-portraits singers