(b. 1617, Bergamo, d. 1677, Bergamo)

Agliardi Triptych (left)

Oil on canvas, 115 x 163 cm
Private collection

Evaristo Baschenis was the leading still-life painter of seventeenth-century Italy. He loved the sensuous musical instruments of his day, whose satiny finishes and graceful curves he captured with striking virtuosity. The three canvases, Baschenis's masterpiece called the Agliardi Triptych, were executed for the artist's aristocratic patrons, Counts Ottavio, Bonifacio, and Alessandro Agliardi in Bergamo. The triptych includes portraits of the three brothers and a self-portrait of the artist playing instruments.

The first picture of the triptych shows a musical performance, with the somber, middle-aged painter at the spinet and Ottavio Agliardi with an archlute. The table, sumptuously covered with a multicoloured carpet, bears the instruments of work and leisure: books, musical instruments (mandola, guitar, violone), a score, a piece of pear, all depicted with virtuoso foreshortening.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.