This painting in oil on canvas by Evaristo Baschenis from Bergamo, is entitled Musical Instruments. It is an unusual still life in that it does not depict the
usual fruit or game. There are five instruments: a lute, a guitar, a violin and bow, a mandola and a spinet. The lute, with its characteristic frame with thin strips of wood in two colours, can be attributed to the Venice shop of Michael Hartung.
A book is placed on the guitar: The Island, or fabulous adventures by Maiolino Bisaccioni, printed in Venice in 1648. According to some sources, it is possible that Bisaccioni painted this scene.
This is one of the most precious paintings in our collection and deliberately acquired in 1912 by Ettore Modigliani who was one of the founders of the Museum and director of the picture gallery in Brera at the time.
Modigliani was the scientific expert leading the acquisition of the Sambon collection which made up the founding core of the Museum. He was sent to Paris to estimate the artistic and historical value of the works to be auctioned.
When the dream became a reality and the Museum’s acquisitions committee took possession of the collection, he sent a telegram to Duke Uberto Visconti di Modrone, the first President of the Museum, with the following words: “Victory, collection ours. Hurrah!”
This remarkable painting reflects the artist in the prime of artistic maturity.