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Savoldo, Giovanni Girolamo (c. 1480 - 1548)
Shepherd with a FluteDate: c. 1525
Technique: Oil on canvas
Museum: Getty Museum
Location: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Size: 38 3/16 x 30 11/16 in.,
Notes: The large figure of a shepherd sits before a darkening blue sky with a wide-brimmed hat shading his eyes. Resting his left arm on a staff, he holds a flute in his hand. With his right hand he gestures towards the rustic scene of a farmhouse partially obscured by ancient ruins looming behind.
The shepherd's face seems to be a realistic portrait, and Giovanni Gerolamo Savoldo's detailed treatment of his clothing indicates how closely Savoldo studied his model. Whether the painting depicts a specific person is unclear. More probably, the musical shepherd was meant to idealize and celebrate the charms of pastoral life for a sophisticated urban audience. Paintings of this type became popular in Venice in the early 1500s, when pastoral poetry and drama also began to flower.
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