Boy Singing

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)


[1] 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. [2] 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. [3] According to information provided by the Getty Provenance Index, Knoedler owned the painting jointly with Abdy.

Credit Line

Ernest Wadsworth Longfellow Fund

Boy Singing

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
Genre - Interior
Accession Number
On view
Art of the Netherlands in the 17th Century Gallery - 242