MANFREDI, Bartolomeo
(b. 1582, Mantova, d. after 1622, Roma)

Tavern Scene with a Lute Player

c. 1621
Oil on canvas, 130 x 190 cm
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles

In the 1620s in Roman circles, a definite change came about in the subject matter of musical paintings. The representation of figures playing musical instruments in 'cultivated' domestic interiors (the direct descendants of Caravaggio's Lute Player and Musicians) disappeared. Within the space of a very few years they were replaced by large numbers of representations of concerts in public places and 'popular' locations. One of the earlier examples of this new trend is Bartolomeo Manfredi's Tavern Scene with a Lute Player. One characteristic of the painting, besides the presence of the lute player in a non-musical context (he simply accompanies a scene in which people are eating and drinking), is the absence of a musical score, an attribute of 'cultivated' musical painting.

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