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The Concert

Hendrick ter Brugghenabout 1626

The National Gallery, London

The National Gallery, London
London, United Kingdom

This painting has a strong claim to be ter Brugghen's finest treatment of a secular subject. He has taken a scene favoured by Caravaggio and his Roman followers - a group of flamboyantly dressed musicians seen by candlelight - and treated it in his own distinctive manner, placing the dramatically lit half-length figures against a light background.

Paintings of the same subject by Caravaggio (New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art) and Bartolommeo Manfredi (Florence, Uffizi) are among the prototypes for this composition. Their large-scale, half-length figures, their crowding together within the composition and their closeness to the edge of the canvas, as well as the bright, colourful palette can all be found in this painting. Ter Brugghen brings to this existing format an individual fluency in modelling the soft edges of his forms and a remarkable subtlety of palette.

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  • Title: The Concert
  • Creator: Hendrick ter Brugghen
  • Date Created: about 1626
  • Physical Dimensions: 99.1 x 116.8 cm
  • Type: Painting
  • Medium: Oil on canvas
  • School: Dutch
  • More Info: Explore the National Gallery’s paintings online
  • Inventory number: NG6483
  • Artist Dates: 1588 - 1629
  • Artist Biography: Ter Brugghen was, with Honthorst and Baburen, one of the main Dutch followers of the Italian artist Caravaggio. His family settled in Utrecht, probably in about 1591, where he was a pupil of Abraham Bloemaert. He travelled to Rome in about 1604, within the lifetime of Caravaggio, and remained there until 1614. By 1615 he had returned to Utrecht, where he died in 1629. Ter Brugghen was the first important painter influenced by Caravaggio to return to Holland. He developed a highly personal style characterised by a soft handling of paint and pale vibrant colouring. He sometimes painted dark figures against a light background, which may have influenced such painters as Vermeer andFabritius. His subject matter covered religious, mythological and literary themes, together with representations of picturesque figures, often in domestic settings. His first dated painting is of 1620.
  • Acquisition Credit: Bought with contributions from the National Heritage Memorial Fund, the Art Fund and The Pilgrim Trust, 1983

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