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Gentileschi, Orazio (1563 - 1639)
Lute PlayerDate: c. 1626
Movement: Renaissance (Late, Mannerism)
Technique: Oil on canvas
Museum: National Gallery of Art
Location: Washington, DC, USA
Size: 144 x 130 cm,
Notes: The Lute Player, produced around the time of his emigration to England, is one of Gentileschi's most famous works. A young girl in a lemon-yellow dress is seated with her back to the spectator at a table on which a violin, a shawm and two music scores are lying. Listening intently, the girl has lifted the lute to her ear, and is concentrating her entire attention on the chord that the fingers of her left hand are strumming on the broad body of the instrument.
It is not easy to interpret this painting, particularly as it was created in a period when allegorical messages tended to be conveyed through seemingly everyday genre scenes. The fact that she is listening so intently would certainly suggest an allegory of hearing, but it is just as possible that this is intended as a portrayal of Harmonia, the pleasing combination of different parts, as suggested by the nineteen strings of the double lute the girl is playing.
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