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Man with a Lute
Dyck, Antonio van
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Dyck, Antonio van

Amberes (Bélgica), 1599 - Blackfriars, Londres (Reino Unido), 1641

Man with a Lute

Ca. 1627. Oil on canvas, 128.7 x 101 cm.

A young man holds a musical instrument that has been identified as a long-necked lute or guitarrón. His black clothing and the dark background leave his flesh tones and the white touches of his collar and cuffs as the only highlights, thus drawing the eye to his face and hands. This was a customary formula in Baroque portraits.

The sitter’s expert grasp of his instrument indicates his familiarity with it, but his identity remains unknown. It seems to be a portrait of a professional musician and was long thought to be a likeness of Jacob Gaultier, a famous French musician who worked as first lutenist at the court of English king Charles I between 1617 and 1647. However, known images of that musician show a more corpulent figure with abundant curly hair, unlike Van Dyck’s model here. Moreover, the presence of the instrument does not necessarily imply that he was a professional musician. Allusions to music were customary in many Baroque portraits as signs of distinction and intellectual refinement, making the instrument a quintessential courtly symbol. Here, the sitter may be a young bourgeois or aristocrat who projects his distinguished social position through his mastery of the lute, an object associated with a refined and cultured lifestyle. Note the presence of a sword hanging from his belt, which would indicate a status somewhat above than that of a simple musician.

Van Dyck was a skilled and successful portrait painter. His placement of the figure in profile, walking to the left with his instrument in hand, reflects the casual appearance the painter sought in all his portraits. The result is a harmonious pose in a dynamic composition marked by a play of diagonals formed by the inclined instrument and the musician’s extended arm.

There is no certainty about when this painting was made. But its confident execution and pictorial and compositional qualities reflect a creative maturity that could as easily correspond with his Italian period (1621-1627) or his second stay in Antwerp (1627-1632). On one hand, the figure’s mobility, the singular characteristics of the lute and the straightforward composition suggest an Italian portrait. On the other, the austere palette and aristocratic ideal are consistent with his portraits from the Netherlands. There is no conclusive information about this painting’s provenance, either. It is first documented in 1734, in a list of paintings saved from the fire that severely damaged Madrid’s old royal palace and destroyed many of the paintings that had entered Spain’s Royal Collection in the 17th century (Text drawn from Pérez Preciado, J. J.: El Prado en el Ermitage, Museo Nacional del Prado, 2011, pp. 118-119).

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Technical data

Inventory number
P01487
Author
Dyck, Antonio van
Title
Man with a Lute
Date
Ca. 1627
Technique
Oil
Support
Canvas
Dimension
High/Height: 128.7 cm.; Width: 101 cm.
Provenance
Royal Collection (New Royal Palace , Madrid, "primera sala de la Furriera", 1747, n. 53; New Royal Palace, Madrid, "paso de tribuna y trascuartos", 1772, n. 53; New Royal Palace, Madrid, "antecámara", 1794, n. 53; Royal Palace, Madrid, "antecámara", 1814-1818, n. 53).

Bibliography +

Inventario del Museo del Prado, 1849, pp. n. 1393.

Catálogo del Museo del Prado, 1854-1858, pp. n. 1393.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Catálogo descriptivo e histórico del Museo del Prado de Madr, [s.n.], Madrid, 1872, pp. n. 1328.

Lefort, P., Les Musees de Madrid. Le Prado, San Fernando, L'Armeria, Gazette des BeauxArts, Paris, 1896, pp. 102.

Cust, L., Anthony Van Dyck. An historical study of his life and works, George Bell and Sons, London, 1900, pp. 244.

Ricketts, C.S., The Prado and Its Masterpieces, Archibald Constable and Company, Westminster, 1903, pp. 181.

Calvert, A. F., The Prado. A description of the principal pictures in the Madrid Gallery, John Company, London, 1907, pp. 218.

Grove. G., A dictionary of music and musicians, II, London, 1908, pp. 634.

Schaëffer, E., Van Dyck. Des meisters gemälde in 537 abbildungen, Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, Stuttgart-Leipzig, 1909, pp. 185.

Wurzbzch, Alfred Von, Niederlandisches Kunstler-Lexikon, I, Verlag Von Halm Und Goldmann, Wien-Leipzig, 1909, pp. 458.

Madrazo, Pedro de (1816-1898), Catálogo de los cuadros del Museo del Prado /, Imprenta y fototipia de J. Lacoste, Madrid, 1910, pp. n. 1487.

Beroqui, P., Adiciones y correcciones al catálogo del Museo del Prado, Imp. de E. Zapatero, Valladolid, 1917, pp. 198.

Allende-Salazar, Juan., Retratos del Museo del Prado: identificación y rectificaciones, Julio Cosano, Madrid, 1919, pp. 185-187.

De Laurencie, L., Le luthiste Jacques Gautier, La Revue Musicale, 1924, pp. 32-39.

Glück, G., Rubens, Van Dyck und ihr Kreis, Wien, 1933, pp. 211.

Glück, G., Some portraits of musicians by Van Dyck, The Burlington magazine, LXV, 1936, pp. 147-153.

Noul, M., Sotomayor, F., Muguruza, P., Les chefs-d'oeuvre du Musée du Prado, Musée d'Art et d'Histoire, Genève, 1939, pp. n. 1487.

Sánchez Cantón, Francisco Javier, Museo del Prado: catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1972.

Díaz Padrón, Matías (1935-), Museo del Prado : catálogo de pinturas : escuela flamenca :, I, Museo del Prado: Patrimonio Nacional de Museos, Madrid, 1975, pp. 108-109, n. 1487.

Díaz Padrón, M., La pintura flamenca del siglo XVII en España. Tesis Doctoral, III, Universidad Complutense, Madrid, 1976, pp. 1142-1143.

Lafuente Ferrari, E., El Prado. La pintura nórdica, Madrid, 1977, pp. 246.

Larsen, E., L'opera completa di Van Dyck 1613-1626., Rizzoli Editore, Milano, 1980, pp. n. 633.

Díaz Padrón, Matías (1935-), La Escuela Flamenca del Siglo XVII., Ediciones Alfiz, Madrid, 1983, pp. 113.

Pérez Sánchez, Alfonso E., Museo del Prado: catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1985, pp. n. 1487.

Pérez Sánchez, Alfonso E., Museo del Prado: catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1985, pp. 198.

Kanki, K.; Mena, M.; Marías, F. et ál., El Greco exhibition, The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo, 1986.

Larsen, E., The paintings of Anthony van Dyck, II, Luca Verlag, Freren, 1988, pp. 240, n. 592.

Fernandez Miranda y Lozana, Fernando, Inventarios Reales Carlos III 1789-1790, I, Patrimonio Nacional, Madrid, 1988, pp. 13, n. 9.

Balis, A. et ál., La peinture flamande au Kunsthistorisches Museum de Vienne, Albin Michel, Wien, 1989, pp. 202, n. 69.

Museo Nacional del Prado, La pintura flamenca en el Prado, IbercajaFonds Mercator, Amberes, 1989, pp. 202.

Moir, A., Anthony van Dyck, Thames & Hudson, London, 1994, pp. 32, n. 58.

Buijsen, E.; Grijp, L. P., Music & painting in the golden age, Waanders publishers, The Hague, 1994, pp. 193, n. 2.

Díaz Padrón, Matías (1935-), El siglo de Rubens en el Museo del Prado : catálogo razonado, Prensa Iberica, Barcelona, 1995, pp. 456-457, n. 1487.

Benito Olmos, Aurora, Arte y Musica en el Museo del Prado, Fundacion ArgentariaVisor, Madrid, 1997, pp. 160.

Der musiker Jacques Gaultier. Zu einem wiedergefundenen Gemälde Antonis van Dycks, Weltkunst, 67, 1997, pp. 700.

Pham, Alexandre, Van Dyck, Goldberg. Early music magazine, 1999, pp. 115,116.

Barnes, S. J., Van Dyck. A complete catalogue of the paintings, Yale University Press, New Haven, 2004, pp. 217, n. II.82.

Diaz Padrón, M, Reflexiones y precisiones del retrato de Van Dyck en la patria de Velázquez, Anales de Historia del arte, extra, 2008, pp. 189-212.

El Prado en el Hermitage, Museo Estatal del Hermitage, 2011, pp. 118-119.

Díaz Padrón, M, Van Dyck en España, II, Prensa Ibérica, Madrid, 2012, pp. 606-609, n. 87.

Other inventories +

Inv. Felipe V, Palacio Nuevo, 1747. Núm. 53.
Pinturas existentes antiguas [...] En la primera Sala de este Oficio [...] 53 / Otro de vn retrato con vn Archilabo en la mano original de Antonio Bandic. = en 4 mil rs.

Inv. Carlos III, Palacio Nuevo, 1772. Núm. 53.
Paso de Tribuna y Trascuartos [...] 53 / Vn retrato de mas de medio cuerpo con vn archilaud en la mano original de Van Dick de vara y media de alto y vna y quarta de ancho

Inv. Testamentaría Carlos III, Palacio Nuevo, 1794. Núm. 53.
Antecámara [...] 53 / Vara y media de alto y cinco quartas de ancho: retrato de hombre: Vandic ... 4000

Inv. Fernando VII, Palacio Nuevo, 1814-1818. Núm. 53.
Antecámara [...] 53 / vara y media alto 5 quartas ancho retrato de hombre Van Dyck

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1854-1858. Núm. 1393.

Inv. Real Museo, 1857. Núm. 1393.
Van-Dick / 1393. Un hombre tocando un instrumento. / Probablemente sera retrato de algun celebre musico de Amberes. / Alto 4 pies, 7 pulg; ancho 3 pies, 7 pulg.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1872-1907. Núm. 1328.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1910. Núm. 1487.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1942-1996. Núm. 1487.

Exhibitions +

El Prado en el Hermitage
San Petersburgo
25.02.2011 - 29.05.2011

Location +

Room 016B (On Display)

Update date: 12-04-2016 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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