ID number: BIRBI-97.5
Institution: The Barber Institute of Fine Arts
Artist / Maker: Baschenis, Evaristo (1617-1677)
Title / Object name: Still Life with Musical Instruments
Object type: Painting
Place made: Bergamo
Date made: about 1660
Materials: Oil on canvas
Measurements: 95.5 x 129 cm
Provenance: Private Collection, New York, 1875 -1929; Christie's Auction House, London, 7 December 1928 (lot 130); Wells; A. G. Dickson Ltd, Phillips Auction House, 6 Febuary 1962 (lot 238); Barnard Cohen; The Benjamin Trust, early 1970s; on loan from Trust to Cleveland Museum of Art, 1982-1996; purchased by the Barber Institute, September 1997
A dramatically lit group of objects demonstrates the artist’s mastery of illusion. Note the dust on the lute, to the right, and the sumptuous folds of the curtain above. The painting is an example of a Vanitas, a still life which reminds us of the transience of worldly possessions and accomplishments. The violin with its broken string and the other instruments are silent, their last notes long since played; the books are unread.
Baschenis was himself a musician in a town renowned for its instrument makers. He is now regarded as the greatest Italian still-life painter of the 17th century.
Inscriptions / Translations: Signed l.l.: EVARISTUS/BASCHENIS/F./BERGOMI
Notes: Exhibited: Cleveland Art Gallery, 1982-1996; Trafalgar Galleries, 'Anniversary Exhibition', London, 1996; Royal Academy of Fine Arts, 'Art Treasures of England', London, 1998 (no.312)