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

Agliardi Triptych (central)

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 central picture of the triptych depicts a still-life with musical instruments: two lutes, cittern, mandola, guitar, spinet. Other represented objects are sheet music, sheets with lute tablatures, cabinet, bowl of apples, carnation, knife, pear. The extraordinary orthogonal of the two lutes and the mandola, leading toward the right, is contrasted in a refined play of crossed and converging diagonals with the sequence formed by the spinet, bowl of apples, and guitar.

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