The Lute Player

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The Lute Player is a composition by the Italian Baroque master Caravaggio. It used to exist in two versions, one in the Wildenstein Collection and another in the Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg. However, a third from Badminton House, Gloucestershire, came to light in 2007.

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Giclee print on premium archival quality Fine Art Matte paper. Certificate of Authenticity included. Shipped rolled and ready to be framed.

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Exhibition quality canvas stretched over wooden stretcher bars w/mirrored edge so none of the original image is lost. Certificate of Authenticity included. Ready to hang on your wall.

Description

Caravaggio’s early biographer Giovanni Baglione gives the following description of a piece done by the artist for his patron Cardinal Francesco Del Monte:

E dipinse [per il Cardinale Del Monte]… anche un giovane, che sonava il Lauto, che vivo, e vero il tutto parea con una caraffa di fiori piena d’acqua, che dentro il reflesso d’ua fenestra eccelentemente si scorgeva con altri ripercotimenti di quella camera dentro l’acqua, e sopra quei fiori eravi una viva rugiada con ogni esquisita diligenza finta. E questo (disse) che fu il piu bel pezzo, che facesse mai. (“He also painted [for Cardinal Del Monte] a young man, playing the Lute, who seemed altogether alive and real with a carafe of flowers full of water, in which you could see perfectly the reflection of a window and other reflections of that room inside the water, and on those flowers there was a lively dew depicted with every exquisite care. And this (he said) was the best piece that he ever painted.)” 

The painting exists in three versions. All show a boy with soft facial features and thick brown hair, accompanying himself on the lute as he sings a madrigal about love. As in the Uffizi Bacchus, the artist places a table-top in front of the figure. In the Hermitage and Badminton House versions it is bare marble, with a violin on one side and a still life of flowers and fruit on the other. In the Wildenstein version the table is covered with a carpet and extended forwards to hold a tenor recorder, while the still life is replaced by a spinetta (a small keyboard instrument) and a caged songbird. The musical instruments are valuable and probably came from Del Monte’s personal collection.

Bibliography
The Lute Player (Caravaggio), https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=The_Lute_Player_(Caravaggio)&oldid=1101538193 (last visited Aug. 9, 2022).

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