Inventory number
P01487
Author
Dyck, Anton van (Flemish),
Title
Man with a Lute
Chronology
1622-1632
Technique
Óleo
Support
Lienzo
Dimensions
128,7 cm x 101 cm
School
Flamenca
Theme
Retrato
On display
Yes
Provenance
Colección Real (Palacio Real Nuevo, Madrid, primera sala de la Furriera, 1747, nº 53; Palacio Real Nuevo, Madrid, paso de tribuna y trascuartos, 1772, nº 53; Palacio Real Nuevo, Madrid, antecámara, 1794, nº 53; Palacio Real, Madrid, antecámara, 1814-1818, nº 53).

In this more than half-length portrait, a musician is shown in profile with his face turned toward the viewer. He holds a large, long-necked lute or chitarrone and is dressed in black. This, and the dark background insure that only the flesh tones and the white collar and cuffs stand out.

The model has traditionally been identified as Jacob Gaultier, a lutenist at the English Court from 1617 to 1647, but the presence of a sword and the work's stylistic characteristics indicate that it dates from before Van Dyck's trip to London, which casts some doubt on this attribution. The presence of the musical instrument doesn't necessarily indicate that the model was a musician. As a courtly symbol par excellence, music was often alluded to in portraits as an indication of intellectual refinement and distinction.

There is no documentation of this painting before 1734, when it was listed among the paintings that survived the fire at Madrid's Alcázar Palace.

 
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