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Concert - Gerrit van Honthorst. 168x202
Dutch artist Gerrit van Honthorst (1590-1656) studied painting in Rome in the first half of the 1610s, when the glory of the recently deceased Caravaggio was there at the zenith. Therefore, his paintings are marked by the influence that the art of the master had on him. It manifested itself both in the choice of theme (in his young years, Caravaggio liked to portray musicians), and in the picturesque solution of the scene, which was characteristic of his already mature work.
This picture in a room illuminated by a ray of light falling from somewhere in the upper window shows a company gathered around the table: a smartly and even elaborately dressed musician plays the viola and gamba, and the boy and girl sing, holding notes in their hands. The artist endowed the participants in an impromptu concert with a variety of emotions: the musician perkily looks at the singers, the young man is all absorbed in singing, the girl looks intently at the notes, the expression of inspiration is on her face, and the old woman, seen behind, probably wants to insert her word.
But Van Honthorst would not have been Dutch if he hadn’t brought a comic connotation to the canvas: the girl touching the song touches the young man’s ear at the same time, trying to remove the earring from him, the old woman probably advises her on how to do this inconspicuously, and even made a purse. And the musician is so “busy with his face” that the merry company arranged the concert only to rob the rich poor fellow. The second meaning, hidden in the usual genre scene, turns the picture into a short story.