Musical Instruments

Baschenis’s still lifes of musical instruments became so famous throughout Italy that, in the 1640s, he founded a workshop to produce copies and variants of his picture. The instruments depicted here are among those played by chamber ensembles that performed for invited guests in private homes. Many of Baschenis’s images are rich in symbolic meanings. The lute, for example, was the instrument of love, and many amorous songs were composed for it. Here, the dusty and abandoned lute and the hourglass also seem to function as vanitas elements, alluding to the passage of time.

Provenance

By 1947, Arthur Wiesenberger, New York [see note 1]; 1949, gift of Arthur Wiesenberger to the MFA. (Accession Date: December 8, 1949)



NOTES:

[1] He first lent the painting to the MFA in 1947, when it was attributed to Bartolomeo Bettera.

Credit Line

Gift of Arthur Wiesenberger

Musical Instruments

Dimensions
34.9 x 54.3 cm (13 3/4 x 21 3/8 in.)
Medium or Technique
Oil on panel
Classification
Paintings
Type
Still Life
Accession Number
49.1789
Not on view

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