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17th Century European Art

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Two Musicians

1630-1635
45 5/8 x 47 7/8 in. (115.9 x 121.6 cm)

Bernardo Strozzi
Italian (1581 - 1644)

Object Type: Painting
Medium and Support: Oil on canvas
Credit Line: Marion Stratton Gould Fund
Accession Number: 1953.8
Location: Currently on view
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This scene of a middle-aged lute player and young violinist illustrates many qualities of Baroque art. Both musicians look directly out from the painting, their eye contact and lively expressions establishing a sympathetic psychological relationship with their audience. A parapet that separates performer from spectator links imaginary and actual space; dramatic lighting, naturalistic details and richly saturated colors all merge to intensify the viewer’s visual experience.

The meaning of Two Musicians leaves much to the imagination. The two figures here could suggest a contrast between naïve youth and experienced age; the violin and the lute both refer to ideas of balance and harmony. Concert scenes sometimes symbolize the sense of hearing or the idea of harmony and love. Whatever the interpretation, these paintings of concerts were, like the music they represent, extremely popular with their public during the Baroque period.

As a young man, Strozzi entered a monastery where he painted religious subjects. After his father’s death, he was allowed to leave the monastery to support his mother; he refused, though, to return after she died and was forced to flee his native Genoa. In 1631, he settled in Venice, where he became a Roman Catholic prelate, or church official. He enjoyed continuous success as a painter for the rest of his life.

[Gallery label text]

Marks
Circular stain or remnant of old label at one corner of back of stretcher.


Provenance
Conte Giacomo Carrara, Bergamo; his bequest to the city of Bergamo for the foundation of the museum of the Accademia Carrara, Bergamo, 1796 [catalogued in their unpublished collection catalogue of 1796]; sold by them in the early nineteenth century; Genoese private collection; Pietro Accorsi, Torino (dealer); sold by him to Nicholas Acquavella, New York (dealer), 1953; purchased from him by the Gallery in 1953

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Web Links See links to web pages and lesson plans
Promenade VII Excerpt from Promenade VII, improvised by Edoardo Bellotti on the Italian Baroque Organ, to accompany this painting.

Excerpts from the Promenade CD copyright and courtesy of The Gothic Catalog, LRCD-1097.
MAGexplore MAGexplore provides in-depth information and close looking at over 200 objects in MAG's collection.


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