VELSEN, Jacob van
(b. ca. 1597, Delft, d. 1656, Amsterdam)

A Musical Party

1631
Oil on panel, 40 x 56 cm
National Gallery, London

In the centre of the painting an elegantly dressed group of two men and a woman make music. The man on the right plays the violin and looks at the woman who is beating time. She and the man next to her are singing from a score. To the right of the group is a table laid with plates, a knife, a glass, a silver jug, and, in the centre, a decorated meat pie. Behind the table a boy waves a glass at the central group while a maid looks on. In the left corner, cast in shadow, a man stands casually leaning on a chair and smoking a pipe. The scene is set in a simple interior with a stone floor and plain, light gray walls.

Until about 1895, this painting was attributed to Anthonie Palamedesz due to a false signature. This is not surprising since the subject matter, the grouping and attire of the figures, and the relatively sparse interior of Palamedesz's early works seem comparable to those in Van Velsen's works. Moreover, comparisons may be drawn with the elegant companies by Dirck Hals in Haarlem, Pieter Codde and Willem Duyster in Amsterdam, and Jacob Duck and Gerrit van Honthorst in Utrecht.




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