HELST, Bartholomeus van der
(b. 1613, Haarlem, d. 1670, Amsterdam)

The Musician

Oil on canvas, 118 x 111 cm
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

In style and execution this painting is a typical work of Bartholomeus van der Helst's mature years. The woman tunes a theorbo-lute, and a viola da gamba rests in front of her. Some scholars have considered the picture to be an allegory or personification of music. Later writers have treated the painting as a genre scene, comparing works by Gerrit Dou, Johannes Vermeer, and other contemporary artists. The picture is very close in date and in its main motifs to Vermeer's Woman with a Lute near a Window. However, it was also suggested that the artist's wife, Anna du Pire might have served as a model for the Musician.

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