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Baburen was one of several painters from Utrecht, in Holland, who went to study and work in Rome. Profoundly influenced by the Italian painter Caravaggio and his followers, they specialized in close-up views of large, half-length figures, solidly modelled with emphatic contrasts of light and shadow. Here, an amorous suitor barters with an elderly, turbanned woman for the favors of a cheerful young woman. The lute, symbol of love, occupies the center of the composition; the gestures of the hands that surround it tell the painting's story.

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