Hendrick ter Brugghen (Dutch, 1588–1629)
Overall: 85.2 x 73.6cm (33 9/16 x 29in.) Framed: 104.8 x 93.3 cm (41 1/4 x 36 3/4 in.)
Medium or Technique
Oil on canvas
Art of the Netherlands in the 17th Century Gallery (Gallery 242)
Like many artists from the Dutch city of Utrecht, Ter Brugghen admired the vividly naturalistic figures and dramatic lighting in paintings by the early seventeenth-century Italian painter, Caravaggio. These artists often dressed their figures in colorful costumes similar to those worn by street entertainers and very different from the sober, black-and-white garments worn by men and women of the time. The singer’s open mouth and raised right hand, beating time, give this picture a lively and engaging sense of the moment.
Center right: HTBrugghen fecit 16 27 (HTB joined)
October 18, 1819, possibly Gottfried Winkler sale, Leipzig, lot 7. December 16, 1885, possibly D. M. Alewijn sale, Amsterdam, lot 24 [see note 1]. 1957, Oliver Francis Lambart (b. 1913 - d. 1986), 2nd Bt., Beau Parc, County Meath, Ireland [see note 2]. 1958, Leggatt Brothers, London; 1958, sold by Leggatt to Knoedler and Co., London and New York (stock no. A6965) [see note 3]; 1958, sold by Knoedler to the MFA for $27,000.00. (Accession Date: October 9, 1958)
 Leonard J. Slatkes and Wayne Franits, The Paintings of Hendrick ter Brugghen: Catalogue Raisonné (Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 2007), cat. A85, pp. 207-208, have tentatively identified this painting with a composition by Gerrit van Honthorst, representing a young man with a feathered hat singing from a notebook, which appeared in the Winkler sale in 1819 (measuring about 81 x 67.5 cm) and the Alewijn sale in 1885 (measuring 80 x 62 cm). The MFA painting measures 85.2 x 73.6 cm.  When Lambart lent the painting to the exhibition "Paintings from Irish Collections," (Municipal Gallery of Modern Art, Dublin, 1957, cat. no. 95), it was attributed to Gerrit van Honthorst.  According to information provided by the Getty Provenance Index, Knoedler owned the painting jointly with Abdy.
Ernest Wadsworth Longfellow Fund