Girl with a flute

Jan van Bijlertcirca 1630

Art Gallery of New South Wales

Art Gallery of New South Wales

A Dutch painter working wholly within the tradition of Caravaggio, van Bijlert favoured such low-life settings as taverns, hostelries and brothels for his human and still-life subjects. Most of his pictures, in the fashion of the time, come supplied with an allegorical or moralistic overlay. 'Girl with a flute' is a good example [of van Bijlert favoured low-life settings together with an allegorical or moralistic overlay], dressing up seventeenth-century erotica as a personification of Music. The woman is either promiscuous or a prostitute: her beckoning smile and partially exposed breast are contrivances of seduction, both painterly and sexual. Displayed in a candle-lit interior, this painted coquette would have quickened as well as embodied the pulse of life. The Pushkin Museum owns a companion to van Bijlert's picture: a man plucking a lute.

AGNSW Handbook, 1999.

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  • Title: Girl with a flute
  • Creator: Jan van Bijlert
  • Date Created: circa 1630
  • Physical Dimensions: 108.0 x 85.8 cm sight; 128.0 x 105.0 x 8.0 cm frame
  • Provenance: Mr Wick P & D Colnaghi and Co, pre 28 Sep 1966, London/England, Purchased by Agnew's, 28 September 1966. Letters sent to Colnaghi's 17 October 2001, 15 May 2002 and 15 March 2003 asking for information on when and from whom they acquired the painting. No response. Agnew's, London, 28 Sep 1966-20 Apr 1967, London/England, Purchased by the AGNSW from Agnew's 1967. Purchased from the exhibition 'Old Masters: recent acquisitions', April - May 1967.
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: Purchased 1967
  • Medium: oil on canvas
  • Signature & Date: Signed u.r., black oil "J v Bijlert Fe". Not dated
  • Object Other Titles: Young girl with a flute
  • Artist Country: Netherlands


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