PRETI, Mattia
(b. 1613, Taverna Calabria, d. 1699, La Valletta)

The Concert

c. 1635
Oil on canvas, 107 x 145 cm
Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid

Mattia Preti's Concert is a work which has a bearing on the artistic links between Italy and the Netherlands. Its style is strongly influenced by Caravaggio, particularly in its formal aspects: the strong chiaroscuro reaches an extreme degree in the faces of the three figures. At the same time, the painting also demonstrates the interest in depicting everyday life so characteristic of the art of northern Europe, and takes pleasure in painting the details of the clothing and objects.

The composition of the scene and the descending ray of light that isolates the three youths in the darkness reflect the influence of the tavern and gambling scenes painted by Bartolomeo Manfredi and Valentin de Boulogne and other early followers of Caravaggio.