In this painting, a sumptuously elegant drape is lifted to reveal a still life with musical instruments, with many symbolic meanings: on a table covered with a red cloth, the pattern of which is beautifully rendered, there is a spinet, on which an archlute and a musical score have been placed. In the middle ground, we see a violin with its bow and an apple, which creates a particular note of colour, and a mandora can be seen on the right. Scholars have pointed out how the instruments used are those required to perform a sonata for soloist and thorough-bass. It is also worth noting Baschenis’s technical skill in rendering the thin layer of dust on the mandora on the right. Dust shows that the instruments have not been used, suggesting the absence of music. The work thus acquires the significance of a vanitas, a reminder of the transience of life, and the silent instruments allude to the fleeting experience of our senses.


  • Title: Still Life with Musical Instruments
  • Creator: Evaristo Baschenis
  • Date Created: 1660/1670
  • Physical Dimensions: 82 x 127 cm
  • Type: Painting
  • Medium: Oil
  • Art Genre: Still life
  • Art Movement: 17th century painting
  • Art Form: Painting
  • Support: Canvas
  • Depicted Topic: musical instruments, violin, apple, gallichon, spinet, liuto attiorbato, vanitas, dust,

Get the app

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


Google apps