Ter Brugghen adopted the subject of flamboyantly dressed half-length figures playing musical instruments from the work of Caravaggio and his immediate Roman followers. This type of picture of a life-size, half-length figure playing a musical instrument became popular among the Utrecht followers of Caravaggio in the early 1620s.

Ter Brugghen was in Rome for about ten years from 1604, where he studied the work of Caravaggio and his followers.


  • Title: A Man playing a Lute
  • Creator: Hendrick ter Brugghen
  • Date Created: 1624
  • Physical Dimensions: 100.5 x 78.7 cm
  • Type: Painting
  • Medium: Oil on canvas
  • School: Dutch
  • More Info: Explore the National Gallery’s paintings online
  • Inventory number: NG6347
  • Artist Dates: 1588 - 1629
  • Artist Biography: Ter Brugghen was, with Honthorst and Baburen, one of the main Dutch followers of the Italian artist Caravaggio. His family settled in Utrecht, probably in about 1591, where he was a pupil of Abraham Bloemaert. He travelled to Rome in about 1604, within the lifetime of Caravaggio, and remained there until 1614. By 1615 he had returned to Utrecht, where he died in 1629. Ter Brugghen was the first important painter influenced by Caravaggio to return to Holland. He developed a highly personal style characterised by a soft handling of paint and pale vibrant colouring. He sometimes painted dark figures against a light background, which may have influenced such painters as Vermeer andFabritius. His subject matter covered religious, mythological and literary themes, together with representations of picturesque figures, often in domestic settings. His first dated painting is of 1620.
  • Acquisition Credit: Bought, 1963

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