In the 17th century playing a flute would be understood by contemporaries to have an erotic meaning; no doubt the reason why this flute player is grinning mischievously at us. Peter Wtewael was the son and pupil of his much more famous father, Joachim Wtewael. His secure oeuvre consists of some 5 paintings which are signed and dated. Our Laughing man with flute is the earliest known work by his hand.The theme of musicians playing instruments was a very popular subject with the Utrecht caravaggists, right around the date of this painting, 1623. At the same time this work shows clear mannerist influences (colouring, big hands) and so can be understood as a synthesis between mannerism and caravaggism.


  • Title: Laughing man with flute
  • Creator: Peter Wtewael
  • Creator Lifespan: 1596 - 1660
  • Creator Nationality: Dutch
  • Creator Gender: Male
  • Creator Death Place: Utrecht
  • Creator Birth Place: Utrecht
  • Date: 1623 - 1623
  • Signed: Signed and dated upper left: Peter wte wael F./ 1623
  • Physical Dimensions: w36.3 x h56.8 cm
  • Painter: Peter Wtewael
  • Provenance: Aetas Aurea Holding SA
  • Type: Panel
  • Rights: http://www.thekremercollection.com/disclaimer/
  • External Link: Aetas Aurea Holding SA

Get the app

Explore museums and play with Art Transfer, Pocket Galleries, Art Selfie, and more

Flash this QR Code to get the app
Google apps