9
9

PROPERTY FROM A EUROPEAN PRIVATE COLLECTION

Follower of Michelangelo Merisi called Caravaggio
A CONCERT
JUMP TO LOT
9

PROPERTY FROM A EUROPEAN PRIVATE COLLECTION

Follower of Michelangelo Merisi called Caravaggio
A CONCERT
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Old Master & British Paintings Evening Sale

|
London

Follower of Michelangelo Merisi called Caravaggio
A CONCERT

Exhibited

Brno, Moravia, Mahr Kunstverein Kunstlerhaus, 1925 (as Caravaggio).

Catalogue Note

Three musicians are seen here preparing for a concert. An old bearded man tunes his violin, while his younger companion is also seen tuning his instrument, in this case a double-headed lute. Behind them, apparently impatient, their female companion, who is most probably a singer, looks on. The composition is known in two other closely related versions. These are those formerly in the Liechtenstein Princely Collections in Vaduz and today in the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, Virginia,1 and in the Stiffelsen Musikulturens Främjande (Rudolf Nydahl Collection) in Stockholm (fig. 1).2 These two paintings are very similar to each other, differing only in minor respects, notably in the head of the lute player, who has much less hair in the Virginia version. Both are slightly narrower than the present canvas, and differ from it in many significant respects. Here an old bearded man with his violin has replaced a much younger man in hat, shown holding a sheet of music. The girl behind is also very different; in the other versions she is shown wearing a laurel wreath and is seen looking downwards in right profile, while here she is bare-headed and looks the other way. The presence of the laurel wreath suggests that the other scenes may originally have been intended as allegorical, perhaps representing harmony, with the girl as a muse of inspiration.

While the present canvas would seem to be of generally higher quality than the two other versions, its author remains to be identified. The painting in Richmond has been attributed in the past to various followers of Caravaggio, including the French painter Valentin de Boulogne, the Fleming Adam de Coster and more recently the Dutch painter Johannes van Bronckhorst. In 1982 Pierre Rosenberg published it with an attribution to the French follower of Caravaggio known as 'The Master of the Open-Mouthed Boys'.3 Rosenberg further supported the same attribution for the Stockholm painting when he saw it in the original in 1998, endorsing the initial suggestion of Dr Sergio Benedetti. This name was first coined by Benedict Nicholson to denote the works of a hand he regarded as possibly a French-based Caravaggesque follower of Carlo Saraceni.4 In 1992, however, Jean-Pierre Cuzin rejected a French origin for this version, suggesting instead an artist in the circle of the Dutchman Jan van Bijlert. Although unlikely to be from Utrecht or another Northern centre, the elegant handling and smooth finish might indeed suggest that the artist was a northerner, most probably of French or Flemish origin, working in Rome around 1615–25.

1 Inv. no. 58.19. Canvas, 100.9 by 118.7 cm. Fürstliche Liechtensteinische Gemäldegalerie, Vienna 1931, p. 69, no. 248 (as by Valentin).

2 Canvas, 103 by 120.3 cm.

3 See P. Rosenberg in La Peinture Française du XVIIe siècle dans les collections Américains, exhibition catalogue, Paris, Grand Palais, New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art and Chicago, Art Institute, 1982, p. 364, no. 3, reproduced.

4 B. Nicholson, The International Caravaggesque Movement, Oxford 1979, p. 36, under 'French School Caravaggesque Master K'.

Old Master & British Paintings Evening Sale

|
London