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

Still-Life with Musical Instruments and a Small Classical Statue

c. 1660
Oil on canvas, 86 x 115 cm
Accademia Carrara, Bergamo

Because he was in holy orders, Baschenis is sometimes referred to as Father Evaristo. The Bergamese Baschenis was, more than anything else, the perfect example of a "specialist" painter. In fact nearly all his oeuvre was dedicated to painting musical instruments, sometimes his pictures being finished by other painters who added figures (as in the case of two paintings that have recently been found in the Brera in Milan). From this specific point of view, Baschenis is one of the most fascinating and focused painters of the whole of the seventeenth century. His use of realism and light is reminiscent of Caravaggio. His canvases had an intense quality which was dominated by his exceptional technical ability (one thing that stands out is the way in which he depicted dust on the back of stringed instruments).

But Baschenis' work never degenerated into a mere display of virtuoso talent. It was rather directed to convey a sense of almost severe moral purpose. Baschenis' success with still-life gave rise, especially in Bergamo itself, to a real fashion for the genre, with other painters following his example.

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