This allegory of music depicts a lady sitting by a table holding a lute in her right hand and grabbing a slice of bread that lies on the table with her left. In the background is a scene with drunkened soldiers wearing Roman costumes. This type of allegorical motifs was a popular subject during the renaissance and the baroque, corresponding well with the ideas of symbolism and hidden meanings.

This painting possibly once belonged to the collection of Rudolf II of Habsburg in Prague, who was a great admirer of Floris and owned several works by him. If so, it was later taken as war booty and sent to Sweden after the looting of the Kunstkammer by the Swedish army in 1648. It is possible that it corresponds to the one refered to as Ein musica vom Flores (lot 845) in the inventory of the imperial collection 1621. This painting is the same in composition as the one also entitled Allegory of music attributed to Jacob de Backer (sold at Christie’s, London, 11 December 2002)


  • Title: Allegory of Music
  • Creator: Frans Floris de Vriendt
  • Date Created: c. 1570
  • Location Created: Antwerp, the Netherlands
  • Provenance: Prague 1621 (?), Rydboholm Castle 1728, Skokloster Castle 1837
  • Physical Dimensions: w 1100, h 890 mm (without frame)
  • Artist info: This south Nederlandish painting was probably executed by Frans Floris or someone connected to his studio in Antwerp during the late 16th century. Born de Vriendt as the son of a stonecutter, the young Floris initially studiedmsculpture under his father but later focused entierly on the art of painting. After educational journeys to Liege and Italy, most notably Rome where he got deeply inspired by the paintings of Michelangelo and Tintoretto, he returned to Antwerp and opend up a workshop of the Italian model, with great success. The studio of Floris engaged a large number of artists including Lucas de Heere, Marten van Cleve, Isaac Claesz and Frans Francken. His art often shows a great influense of the Italian mannerism and he belongs to the group of Antwerp artists refered to as the Nederlandish Romanists.
  • Type: Oil on canvas

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