A letter written by the artist to William Walters dated July 20, 1860 illuminates the subject of this painting. It shows a brother and sister resting before an old tomb. The brother is attempting to comfort his sibling by playing the violin, and she has fallen into a deep sleep, "oblivious of all grief, mental and physical."

This composition exists in at least one other version, now preserved at the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg. A closely related reduced replica was given to the Musées royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique by a descendant of the artist. The melancholic subject's popularity is attested by its reproduction on a porcelain plaque manufactured by the Royal Porcelain Factory, Berlin.


  • Title: Power of Music
  • Creator: Louis Gallait (Belgian, 1810-1887)
  • Date Created: 1852 (?)
  • External Link: For more information about this and thousands of other works of art in the Walters Art Museum collection, please visit art.thewalters.org
  • Roles: Artist: Louis Gallait (Belgian, 1810-1887)
  • Provenance: William T. Walters, Baltimore, before 1861 [mode of acquisition unknown]; Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1894, by inheritance; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
  • Object Type: oil paintings; panel paintings
  • Medium: oil on wood (mahogany) panel
  • Inscriptions: [Signature] Lower left: Louis Gallait
  • Exhibitions: From Rye to Raphael: The Walters Story. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. 2014-2016., Salute to Belgium. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1980., The Taste of Maryland: Art Collecting in Maryland 1800-1934. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1984.
  • Dimensions: H: 22 1/2 x W: 17 1/16 in. (57.2 x 43.3 cm); Framed H: 35 1/16 x W: 29 7/8 x D: 5 1/8 in. (89 x 75.9 x 13 cm)
  • Credit Line: Acquired by William T. Walters, before 1861
  • Classification: Painting & Drawing
  • Accession Number: 37.134

Get the app

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


Google apps