HONTHORST, Gerrit van
(b. 1590, Utrecht, d. 1656, Utrecht)

The Merry Fiddler

Oil on canvas, 107 x 88 cm
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Van Honthorst was renowned during his lifetime for his chiaroscuro paintings but his oeuvre includes other images lacking in spectacular light effects. A striking example is his Merry Violinist. This painting is remarkable for its bold illusionism. The cheerful figure leans over a balustrade, protruding into the viewer's space as his form punctures the picture plane. He sweeps aside the brilliant red carpet whose conspicuous tactility enhances the illusionistic qualities of the canvas.

Suggested listening (streaming mp3, 4 minutes):
Arcangelo Corelli: Allemanda from Trio sonata