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Arthur K. Wheelock Jr., “Hendrick ter Brugghen/Bagpipe Player/1624,” Dutch Paintings of the Seventeenth Century, NGA Online Editions, http://purl.org/nga/collection/artobject/144298 (accessed December 22, 2014).

 

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Overview

Hendrick ter Brugghen excelled at capturing the rhythms of music in the very way he composed his paintings. In this remarkable image a bagpipe player, seen in strict profile, squeezes the leather bag between his forearms as he blows through the instrument’s pipe and fingers a tune on the chanter. Two large drones, composed of different wooden sections, rest on his bare shoulder. The interlocking rhythms of this ensemble—the broad, round shapes of the musician’s shoulder, beret, and brown bagpipe bag; the flowing patterns of folds in his creamy shirt and taupe robe; the pronounced diagonals of the drones and pipe; and the verticality of the chanter—parallel those of a musical score. Ter Brugghen’s Bagpipe Player should be seen as part of a broad cultural interest in depictions of the idyllic pleasures of country existence, particularly as experienced through music. Ter Brugghen fully embraced this theme in a series of paintings of musicians and singers that capture both the joy and the sensuality of life.

The specific character of this painting, depicting a single, larger-than-life-size musician against a plain grayish ocher background, owes much to the influence of Gerrit van Honthorst (1592–1656) and Dirck van Baburen (c. 1595–1624), Dutch Caravaggist painters who returned to Utrecht from Rome in 1620. They brought with them a new sensuous style appropriate for expressing the idealized concepts of arcadian subject matter that they adapted from paintings by Caravaggio (1571–1610) and his followers. In 1624 Ter Brugghen painted no fewer than five separate compositions devoted to music, featuring not only bagpipe players but also musicians—sometimes singing—who play the lute and the violin. He continued this interest in the years to follow.

Entry

Hendrick ter Brugghen was unparalleled in capturing the rhythms of music, and he did so in the very way he composed his paintings.[1] His musicians lean into their instruments, their bodies alive with the joy of the sounds they bring forth, whether coaxed from a violin, lute, recorder, or bagpipe. In this remarkable image, a bagpipe player, seen in strict profile, squeezes the leather bag between his forearms as he blows through the instrument’s pipe and fingers a tune on the chanter. Two large drones, composed of different wooden sections, rest on his bare shoulder. The interlocking rhythms of this ensemble—the broad, round shapes of the musician’s shoulder, beret, and brown bagpipe bag; the flowing patterns of folds in his creamy shirt and taupe robe; the pronounced diagonals of the drones and pipe; and the verticality of the chanter—parallel those of a musical score. In music, broad, fulsome notes, quickly cadenced flourishes, and strong beats not only punctuate melodies with dynamic accents but also culminate in a well-defined and emphatic finale; Ter Brugghen achieves the same effects in this painting.

Though muted in tonality, the Bagpipe Player is both bold and forceful in its scale and painting techniques. The musician’s larger-than-life-size form fills the picture plane, his passion for his music reflected in the energy of Ter Brugghen’s sure, broad brushstrokes, which flow across the canvas. The numerous adjustments the artist made in the folds of the shirt and robe, as well as in the shape of the bagpipes, indicate the freedom with which he approached his subject.[2] Also astonishing is Ter Brugghen’s control of light, which falls most strongly on the bagpipe player’s shoulder, shirt, and fingers while leaving his face in shadow—evidence that the painting focuses primarily on the sensuality of music and not on a specific individual.

The bagpipe player is a muscular, rough-hewn type, hardly an ideal of grace and refinement. His head is large, his nose is round, and he sports a shepherd’s mustache and beard. His hands and knuckles are thick, yet from the manner in which he fingers the chanter, leaving the vent hole uncovered, it is clear that he is adept at playing the instrument. The same feeling is evoked in a second depiction of the bagpipe player, also dated 1624 [fig. 1], in which the musician, wearing the identical beret and cap medal, and with his shoulder similarly sensually exposed, looks intently out at the viewer while playing a three-drone instead of a two-drone bagpipe.[3] The turn of his head and the apparent movement of his fingers on the chanter make it the more active of the two images, but both paintings are equally about the player’s complete engagement in his music.

Bagpipes were traditionally viewed as folk instruments, played at country dances or by herdsmen and shepherds whiling away their time. These types of portrayals were common throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, appearing in the works of Albrecht Dürer (German, 1471 - 1528), Lucas van Leyden (Netherlandish, 1489/1494 - 1533), Pieter Bruegel the Elder (Flemish, c. 1525/1530 - 1569), David Teniers the Younger (Flemish, 1610 - 1690), and Jan Steen (Dutch, 1625/1626 - 1679), among others.[4] Ter Brugghen’s musician, however, is not a local peasant or shepherd the artist might have encountered on a foray into the countryside; it is unlikely that shepherds played their bagpipes with drones resting on a bare shoulder. The loosely draped robes here reflect a manner of dress based on antique fashions. Like the brightly colored, fanciful outfits in Ter Brugghen’s depictions of violinists, flutists, and lute players from the 1620s, which derive from sixteenth-century Spanish and French prototypes as well as from Caravaggio (Roman, 1571 - 1610), this all’antica mode of dress alluded to an arcadian ideal of country living that was popular in aristocratic and court circles, and among the urban elite, particularly in Utrecht and The Hague. Essential to this mythology were notions of the purity and bounty of country existence, as well as the romantic ideals of love and beauty that emanated from Renaissance literary and pictorial traditions.

Bagpipes were often included in these odes to pastoral life, which may help explain the appeal of paintings of musicians for aristocratic patrons during the early to mid-seventeenth century.[5] In Daniel Heinsius’ 1616 poem “Pastorael,” the shepherd Cordion sits quietly in the countryside dreaming of his beloved while he soulfully plays his bagpipe and sings his lover’s lament [fig. 2].[6] Two extremely popular pastoral plays of the period, Giovanni Battista Guarini’s Il Pastor Fido, 1590, and Pieter Cornelisz Hooft’s Granida, 1615, similarly evoke an arcadian ideal of bucolic existence quite different from the profligate ways of urban and courtly life.[7] Musicians playing bagpipes, flutes, and other pastoral instruments created the auditory ambience for such plays. In 1637, for example, Sir Anthony van Dyck (Flemish, 1599 - 1641) depicted the engraver and print dealer François Langlois playing a bagpipe and dressed as a savoyard, a type of itinerant shepherd-musician found performing in French aristocratic circles [fig. 3].[8] An anonymous portrait of 1632 portrays a distinguished and well-dressed Dutch gentleman proudly holding his bagpipe, a further indication that the instrument was also played by respectable members of the upper class [fig. 4].

The specific character of Bagpipe Player—a single, larger-than-life-sized musician shown against a plain grayish ocher background—owes much to the influence of Gerrit van Honthorst (Dutch, 1590 - 1656) and Dirck van Baburen (Dutch, c. 1595 - 1624), Dutch Caravaggist painters who returned to Utrecht from Rome in 1620. They brought with them stylistic and thematic predilections appropriate for expressing the sensuous, idealized concepts of arcadian subject matter that they adapted from paintings by Caravaggio and his followers, particularly Bartolomeo Manfredi (1582–1622). There were also other significant pictorial sources for half-length depictions of musicians. Marten Jan Bok has persuasively argued that the inspiration for this new subject matter owes much to the existence in Utrecht of an early sixteenth-century Venetian painting of a flute player, which at the time was attributed to Correggio (Parmese, 1489/1494 - 1534) but which was almost certainly painted by Giorgione (Venetian, 1477/1478 - 1510) or Titian (Venetian, 1488/1490 - 1576).[9]

Even though Ter Brugghen had been in Italy earlier and presumably had seen some of Caravaggio’s paintings of musicians, these additional pictorial sources probably inspired his initial foray into this subject matter in 1621, when he painted the Flute Player and the Shepherd Flute Player, both now in Kassel.[10] It was not until 1624, however, the date of the Gallery’s Bagpipe Player, that Ter Brugghen fully turned his attention to the depiction of musicians. In that year alone he painted no fewer than five separate compositions devoted to music, featuring not only bagpipers but also musicians—sometimes singing—who play the lute and the violin.[11] He continued this interest in the years to follow.[12] Just what prompted this output is not known, but the appeal of this subject was such that Ter Brugghen and/or his workshop made replicas of a number of these works, including Bagpipe Player.[13]

Similarities in subject matter, style, and size among the canvases have led to the supposition that Ter Brugghen conceived of a number of these paintings as pendants. Indeed, Leonard Slatkes has proposed that the Bagpipe Player has a pendant, the so-called Pointing Lute Player [fig. 5].[14] He and Wayne Franits argue that the two works—which are identical in size, are both signed and dated 1624, and have complementary compositions—are also thematically conjoined.[15] They believe that the lute player’s laughing demeanor and pointing gesture are meant to mock the bagpipe player as he plays this rustic instrument,[16] an interpretation that draws its bite from ancient mythology, specifically the musical contest between Marsyas, who played Pallas Athena’s cast-off aulos (which was occasionally depicted as a bagpipe in fifteenth-century publications), and Apollo, who won the contest by playing a lyre.

Even though wind instruments were indeed considered to be less refined and elegant than string instruments [fig. 6],[17] the hypothesis that Bagpipe Player and Pointing Lute Player were pendants is not convincing and does not take into account the positive connotations of the bagpipe in seventeenth-century Dutch culture discussed above. The composition of Pointing Lute Player clearly indicates that it had a pendant, but the Bagpipe Player almost certainly was not the companion piece. Visually, the compositional relationships between the two works are not as compelling as they initially seem. The scale and disposition of the figures differ: the bagpipe player is larger than the lute player, higher in the picture plane, and more fully fills the space around him. Most important, the Bagpipe Player is an image of quiet grandeur and dignity. Nothing about the figure’s pose, expression, or gestures suggests that Ter Brugghen conceived this image as the focus of a lute player’s mockery.[18]

Ter Brugghen’s Bagpipe Player, thus, should be seen as part of a broad cultural interest in the pastoral during the early seventeenth century that evoked the idyllic pleasures of country existence, particularly as experienced through music. Ter Brugghen fully embraced this theme in a series of remarkable paintings of musicians and singers that capture both the joy and the sensuality of life. As with this masterpiece, these engaging images invite us into a world where, through the boldness of the artist’s brush and the rhythms of his forms, we feel the enduring power of music on the human spirit.

Arthur K. Wheelock Jr.

April 24, 2014

Inscription

upper right, in brown paint, HTB in monogram: HTBrugghen fecit 1624

  • Inscription

Marks and Labels

null

Provenance

Possibly Aernout van Lingen, Utrecht, by 1676.[1] probably with (Glenz, Berlin), in 1915;[2] possibly Gustav Klemperer Edler von Klemenau [1852-1926], Dresden; his son, Dr. Herbert von Klemperer [1878-1951], Berlin;[3] (sale, Lange, Berlin, 18-19 November 1938, no. 151); acquired by Wallraf-Richartz-Museum, Cologne, inv. no. 2613; restituted July 2008 to Klemperer's heirs; (sale, Sotheby's, New York, 9 January 2009, no. 40); (Johnny Van Haeften London Ltd., London; Otto Naumann, New York; Bernheimer Fine Art Ltd., Munich); purchased April 2009 by NGA.

Exhibition History

1984
Masters of Seventeenth-Century Dutch Genre Painting, Philadelphia Museum of Art; Gemäldegalerie, Staatliche Museen Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Berlin; Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1984, no. 24, pl. 9 (shown only in Philadelphia and Berlin).
2000
Dipingere la musica: strumenti in posa nell'arte del cinque e seicento, Santa Maria della Pietà, Cremona; Kunsthistorisches Museum at Palais Harrach, Vienna, 2000, no. I.22, repro.
2011
Larger than Life: Ter Brugghen's Saint Sebastian Tended by Irene, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 2011, no catalogue.

Bibliography

1933
Schneider, Arthur von. Caravaggio und die Niederländer. 2nd ed. Marburg/Lahn, 1933: 140.
1938
_Sammlung B., Wien, die Bestände der Firma Ziffer i. L., Berlin, Porzellan aus der Sammlung R., Wien, Frankfurter und anderer Privatbesitz (zum Teil nichtarisch). Berlin, 1938: 9, no. 151, repro.
1939
Förster, Otto H., ed. Wallraf-Richartz-Museum der Hansestadt Köln. 2 vols. Wallraf-Richartz-Jahrbuch 11. Cologne, 1939: 308.
1939
May, Helmut. "Das Wallraf-Richartz-Museum in Köln." Die Weltkunst 13, nos. 24-25 (June 1939): 1, repro.
1939
Moltke, Joachim Wolfgang von. "Ein unbekanntes Bild von Hendrik Terbrugghen." Wallraf-Richartz-Jahrbuch 11 (1939): 283–285, fig. 208.
1941
May, Helmut. Die Niederländischen, Französischen, Italienischen und Spanischen Gemälde. Wallraf-Richartz-Museum der Hansestadt Köln 2. Cologne, 1941: 133.
1954
Wentzel, Hans. "Unbekannte Werke Terbrugghen in Dänemark und Schweden." Die Kunst und das Schöne Heim 52 (4 January 1954): 124.
1955
Nicolson, Benedict. "Notable Works of Art now on the Market." The Burlington Magazine 97, no. 633 (December 1955): unpaginated, pl. XVIII.
1956
Nicolson, Benedict. "The Rijksmuseum 'Incredulity' and Terbrugghen's Chronology." The Burlington Magazine 98, no. 637 (April 1956): 108, 110.
1957
Nicolson, Benedict. "Ter Brugghen Repeating Himself" in Miscellanea Prof. Dr. D. Roggen. Antwerp, 1957: 194.
1957
Wallraf-Richartz-Museum. Führer durch die Gemäldegalerie. Cologne, 1957: 92.
1958
Nicolson, Benedict. Hendrick Terbrugghen. London, 1958: 10, 16, 41, 104, 108, 118, no. A17, pl. 48.
1959
Wallraf-Richartz-Museum. Verzeichnis der Gemälde. Cologne, 1959: 166.
1960
Plietzsch, Eduard. Holländische und flämische Maler des XVII. Jahrhunderts. Leipzig, 1960: 146, fig. 250.
1961
Judson, J. Richard. "Review of Hendrick Terbrugghen by Benedict Nicolson." The Art Bulletin 43 (December 1961): 346.
1965
Slatkes, Leonard J. Dirck van Baburen (c. 1595-1624); a Dutch painter in Utrecht and Rome. Orbis artium: Utrechtse Kunsthistorische Studiën 5. Utrecht, 1965: 158.
1965
Slatkes, Leonard J. Hendrick Terbrugghen in America. Exh. cat. Dayton Art Institute; Baltimore Museum of Art. Dayton, 1965: 12.
1965
Wallraf-Richartz-Museum. Verzeichnis der Gemälde. Cologne, 1965: 166.
1966
Osten, Gert von der. Wallraf-Richartz-Museum Köln. Köln, 1966: 15, 62, fig. 237, repro.
1966
Osten, Gert von der. Wallraf-Richartz-Museum Köln. Köln, 1966:15, 62, fig. 237, repro.
1967
Schneider, Arthur von. Caravaggio und die Niederländer. Reprint of 1933 edition. Amsterdam, 1967: 140.
1967
Vey, Horst, and Anna Maria Kesting. Katalog der niederländischen Gemälde von 1550 bis 1800 im Wallraf-Richartz-Museum. Cologne, 1967: 26, fig. 26.
1978
Wright, Christopher. The Dutch Painters: 100 Seventeenth Century Masters. London, 1978: 192.
1979
Nicolson, Benedict. The international Caravaggesque movement: lists of pictures by Caravaggio and his followers throughout Europe from 1590 to 1650. Oxford, 1979: 100.
1981
Wright, Christopher. A golden age of painting: Dutch and Flemish paintings of the seventeenth century from the collection of the Sarah Campbell Blaffer Foundation. San Antonio, 1981: 96.
1984
Brown, Christopher. "Hendrick ter Brugghen." In Von Frans Hals bis Vermeer: Meisterwerke holländischer Genremalerei. Edited by Peter C. Sutton. Exh. cat. Philadelphia Museum of Art Gemäldegalerie, Staatliche Museen Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Berlin; Royal Academy of Arts, London. Berlin, 1984: 130, 131, no. 24, repro.
1984
Sutton, Peter C. Masters of Seventeenth-Century Dutch Genre Painting. Edited by Jane Iandola Watkins. Exh. cat. Philadelphia Museum of Art; Gemäldegalerie, Staatliche Museen Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Berlin; Royal Academy of Arts, London. Philadelphia, 1984: 168, no. 24, pl. 9.
1986
Blankert, Albert, and Leonard J. Slatkes. Nieuw licht op de Gouden Eeuw: Hendrick ter Brugghen en Tijdgenoten. Exh. cat. Centraal Museum, Utrecht; Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum, Braunschweig. Utrecht, 1986: 113, fig. 79.
1986
Bok, Marten Jan. "Hendrick Jansz. ter Brugghen." In Holländische Malerei in neuem Licht: Hendrick ter Brugghen und seine Zeitgenossen. Edited by Albert Blankert and Leonard J. Slatkes. Exh. cat. Centraal Museum, Utrecht; Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum, Braunschweig. Braunschweig, 1986: 71.
1986
Hesse, Christian, and Martina Schlagenhaufer. Wallraf-Richartz-Museum Köln: vollständiges Verzeichnis der Gemäldesammlung. 2 vols. Cologne, 1986: 1:15-16, fig. 285; 2:148-149, color repro.
1989
Nicolson, Benedict. Caravaggism in Europe. 3 vols. Archivi di storia dell'arte. 2nd ed. Turin, 1989: 1:192, no. 129.
1990
Le Bihan, Olivier. L'Or & l'Ombre: catalogue critique et raisonné des peintures hollandaises du dix-septième et du dix-huitième siècles, conservées au Musée des beaux-arts de Bordeaux. Bordeaux, 1990: 73, 74.
1991
Brown, Christopher. Brief Encounters: Ter Brugghen: Jacob reproaching Laban. Exh. cat. National Gallery, London, 1991: unpaginated, repro.
1991
Brown, Christopher. Hendrick ter Brugghen (1588-1629) 'Jakob, Laban und Lea', ein Bild in Vergleich. Exh. cat. Wallraf-Richartz-Museum, Cologne, 1991: 5, 14, fig. 9.
1993
Mai, Ekkehard, ed. Das Kabinett des Sammlers: Gemälde vom XV. bis XVII. Jahrhundert. Cologne, 1993: 250.
1994
Huys Janssen, Paul. "Jan van Bijlert (1597/98-1671), schilder in Utrecht." Ph.D. dissertation, Rijksuniversiteit Utrecht, 1994: 166.
1996
Slatkes, Leonard J. "Bringing Ter Brugghen and Baburen Up-to-Date." Bulletin des du Musée National de Varsovie 37 (1996): 210, 212, 213, 216, fig. 8.
1998
Huys Janssen, Paul. Jan Van Bijlert, 1597/98-1671: catalogue raisonné. Oculi 7. Amsterdam, 1998: 139.
1999
White, Christopher. Ashmolean Museum Oxford, catalogue of the collection of paintings: Dutch, Flemish, and German paintings before 1900. Oxford, 1999: 24.
2000
Gruber, Gerlinde. "Hendrick Terbrugghen." In Dipingere la musica: strumenti in posa nell'arte del cinque e seicento. Edited by Sylvia Ferino Pagden and Luiz C. Marques. Exh. cat. Santa Maria della Pietà, Cremona; Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna. Milan, 2000: 116-117, no. I.22, repro.
2001
Gruber, Gerlinde. "Hendrick Terbrugghen." In Dipingere la musica: Musik in der Malerei des 16. und 17. Jahrhunderts. Edited by Sylvia Ferino Pagden, Luiz C. Marques and Wilfried Seipel. Exh. cat. Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna. Milan, 2001: 142-143, no. I.22, repro. .
2004
Harrison, Colin, Catherine Casley, and Jon Whiteley. The Ashmolean Museum: complete illustrated catalogue of paintings. Oxford, 2004: 35.
2005
Sutton, Peter C. Old master paintings from the Hascoe collection. Exh. cat. Bruce Museum of Arts and Science, Greenwich, Connecticut, 2005: 10.
2007
Slatkes, Leonard J., and Wayne E. Franits. The paintings of Hendrick ter Brugghen, 1588-1629: Catalogue raisonné. Oculi 10. Amsterdam, 2007: 50-51, 57, 118, 130n, 165-167, 171, 185-187, 193, 194, 218, 271, 377, cat. no. A71, pl. 70.
2009
Lopez, Jonathan. "A Holland - America Line: The National Gallery’s Acquisition of a Major Ter Brugghen Opens a Window on the History of Taste." Art and Antiques (May 2009): 42–44, repro.
2009
Pollock, Lindsay. "Old Masters Survive Test." The Art Newspaper 200 (March 2009): 47, repro.
2009
Wheelock, Arthur K., Jr. "Hendrick ter Brugghen, Bagpipe Player." Bulletin / National Gallery of Art, no. 41 (Fall 2009): 14-16, repro.
2009
Wheelock, Arthur K., Jr. "Hendrick ter Brugghen: Bagpipe Player." National Gallery of Art Bulletin 41 (Fall 2009): 99-100, repro.
2010
Wheelock, Arthur K., Jr. "A Painting by Hendrick ter Brugghen Acquired by the National Gallery of Art, Washington." The Burlington Magazine 32 (5 February 2010): 99-100.
2011
Bok, Marten Jan. "Een leven lang leren." Kunstschrift 55, no. 5 (October/November 2011): 28, 33, caption for fig. 38. [Fig. 38 shows the Oxford Ashmolean Portrait of a Man Playing the Bagpipes]

Technical Summary

The painting was executed on a plain, open-weave fabric, which has been lined. Paper tape covers the edges, making it difficult to determine if the tacking margins are intact, but cusping along all four sides indicates that the painting probably retains its original dimensions. The ground is a fairly thick red layer with large pigment particles. Ter Brugghen applied the oil paint directly, mostly using a wet-into-wet technique. The paint is fairly thin in the background but it is much thicker in the lighter areas and the drapery, especially in the creamy pink shirt. Ground is visible around the edges of the figure indicating that Ter Brugghen left a reserve. He used broad brushstrokes to outline the figure and the folds in the drapery. Examination with visible light, X-radiographs, and infrared reflectography at 1.5 to 1.8 microns[1] revealed numerous changes by the artist in the sitter’s drapery and the bagpipes.

The painting is in good condition. It exhibits some weave enhancement, which was probably caused by too much pressure during the lining. The X-radiographs show a small, triangular loss in the lower left corner in the fabric in the sitter’s gray cloak. The paint bears a broad craquelure in the lighter areas and a finer craquelure in the darks, which is enhanced by some tenting. In addition to paint loss associated with the hole, there is a vertical area of paint loss in the upper left corner, tiny losses along the bottom edge in the right corner, and small losses associated with old stretcher-bar cracks along the top, left, and right sides. The paint is fairly abraded in the background, especially around the word "fecit" in the inscription. The painting was treated in 2009, at which time discolored varnish was removed and the losses and much of the abrasion were inpainted.

  

[1] Infrared reflectography was performed using a Santa Barbara Focalplane InSb camera fitted with an H astronomy filter.

Related IconClass Terms

35
Arcadian scenes
44B155
courtly style
48A1
patron +burgher
48A91
Caravaggism
48B
artist +Pieter Bruegel the Elder + influence of
48C75
musician with instrument
48C85
theatrical performance
48C9015
pastoral poetry
Iconclass

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Bagpipe Player
  • Comparable Figure
    [fig. 1] Hendrick ter Brugghen, Portrait of a Man Playing the Bagpipes, 1624, oil on canvas, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford
    Compare Image
  • Comparable Figure
    [fig. 2] Anonymous, Cordion Playing a Bagpipe, engraving from Daniel Heinsius, “Pastorael,” in Heinsius, Nederduytsche poemata, Amsterdam, 1616
    Compare Image
  • Comparable Figure
    [fig. 3] Anthony van Dyck, Portrait of François Langlois, probably early 1630s, oil on canvas, National Gallery, London, Bought jointly by the National Gallery and the Barber Institute of Fine Arts, University of Birmingham, with the assistance of the Heritage Lottery Fund, 1997. Photo © National Gallery, London / Art Resource, NY
    Compare Image
  • Comparable Figure
    [fig. 4] Anonymous, Musician Holding Bagpipes, 1632, oil on panel, Concordia University, Montreal
    Compare Image
  • Comparable Figure
    [fig. 5] Hendrick ter Brugghen, Pointing Lute Player (A Seated Lutanist Pointing), 1624, oil on canvas, Private collection. Photo © Christie's Images / The Bridgeman Art Library
    Compare Image
  • Comparable Figure
    [fig. 6] Claes Jansz Visscher, Niet hoe veel, maer hoe eel (Not how many, but how fine), 1614, engraving
    Compare Image
  • [1]

    I would like to thank Wayne Franits for his thoughtful comments on this entry.

  • [2]

    See the Technical Summary of this painting.

  • [3]

    For the history of bagpipes, see Emanuel Winternitz, Musical Instruments and Their Symbolism in Western Art: Studies in Musical Iconology, 2nd ed. (New Haven and London, 1979), 78, 80; and Anthony Baines, Bagpipes, ed. T. K. Penniman and B. M. Blackwood, 3rd ed. by H. T. La Rue (Oxford, 1995), 17, 115–117, fig. 72. I would like to thank Joel Robinson, maker of bagpipes, for his thoughtful observations about the instrument depicted in this painting and the portrayal of the bagpipe player.

  • [4]

    Bagpipes often had negative associations: in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century prints they were frequently associated with fools and given sexual connotations. See, in particular, Marcus Dekiert, Musikanten in der Malerei der niederländischen Caravaggio-Nachfolge: Vorstufen, Ikonographie und Bedeutungsgehalt der Musikszene in der niederländischen Bildkunst des 16. und 17. Jarhunderts (Münster, 2003), 214–220. Nevertheless, bagpipes were also included in sixteenth-century images of musical ensembles that had positive overtones. For example, Frans Floris I (Flemish, c. 1519 - 1570) included a bagpipe in an allegorical image of Musica for a series of the Seven Liberal Arts, which Cornelis Cort (Netherlandish, 1533 - 1578) reproduced in an engraving (F. W. H. Hollstein, Dutch and Flemish Etchings, Engravings, and Woodcuts, ca. 1450–1700, 41 vols. [Amsterdam, 1949], 5:59, no. 228). An engraving after Floris by Philips Galle (1537–1612) depicts a musical company scene consisting of string and wind instruments, including the bagpipe (Hollstein, Dutch and Flemish Etchings, Engravings, and Woodcuts, 7:83, no. 787). The Latin text beneath the print distinguishes between music that enlivens the spirit (wind instruments) and that which calms the spirit (string instruments). These two prints are illustrated in In de Vier Winden: de prentuitgeverij van Hieronymus Cock 1507/10–1570 te Antwerpen (Rotterdam, 1988), 99–100.

  • [5]

    Emanuel Winternitz, Musical Instruments and Their Symbolism in Western Art: Studies in Musical Iconology, 2nd ed. (New Haven and London, 1979), 78, 80.

  • [6]

    Daniel Heinsius, “Pastorael,” in Nederduytsche poemata (Amsterdam, 1616), 34–36. “Oock heb ick veel vreucht bedreven, / En mijn lullepijp gestalt / Naer de deunen van het veldt.”

  • [7]

    See Alison McNeil Kettering, The Dutch Arcadia: Pastoral Art and Its Audience in the Golden Age (Totowa, NJ, 1983), especially 101–113.

  • [8]

    See Arthur K. Wheelock Jr., Susan J. Barnes, and Julius S. Held, Anthony van Dyck (Washington, DC, 1990), 304, no. 81.

  • [9]

    Marten Jan Bok, “On the Origins of the Flute Player in Utrecht Caravaggesque Painting,” in Hendrick ter Brugghen und die Nachfolger Caravaggios in Holland, ed. Rüdiger Klessmann, (Braunschweig, 1988), 135–141. As Bok notes, the painting, which has been attributed to both Titian and Giorgione, is probably: Attributed to Titian, A Boy with a Pipe, London, Hampton Court (see his fig. 183).

  • [10]

    Leonard J. Slatkes and Wayne E. Franits, The Paintings of Hendrick ter Brugghen, 1588–1629: Catalogue Raisonné (Amsterdam and Philadelphia, 2007), 176–177, nos. A61–A62, argue that the paintings are pendants “with antithetical types rather than two young musicians playing in harmony.”

  • [11]

    Leonard J. Slatkes and Wayne E. Franits, The Paintings of Hendrick ter Brugghen, 1588–1629: Catalogue Raisonné (Amsterdam and Philadelphia, 2007), nos. A63–A72, RA2, W16.

  • [12]

    Ter Brugghen’s interest in depicting musicians, including bagpipe players, was matched by Abraham Bloemaert (Dutch, 1564 - 1651) and Jan van Bijlert (1597/1598–1671). See Marcel G. Roethlisberger and Marten Jan Bok, Abraham Bloemaert and His Sons: Paintings and Prints, 2 vols. (Doornspijk, 1993), 1:267, no. 399; and Paul Huys Janssen, Jan Van Bijlert, 1597/98–1671: Catalogue Raisonné (Amsterdam and Philadelphia, 1998).

  • [13]

    In the collection of the Sarah Campbell Blaffer Foundation, Houston, Texas. The painting, which measures 89.3 x 83.2 cm, has been trimmed on all sides. See Leonard J. Slatkes and Wayne E. Franits, The Paintings of Hendrick ter Brugghen, 1588–1629: Catalogue Raisonné (Amsterdam and Philadelphia, 2007), 187, nos. W16, RA2.

  • [14]

    Slatkes proposed this pendant relationship in Albert Blankert et al., Nieuw Licht op de Gouden Eeuw: Hendrick ter Brugghen en tijdgenoten (Utrecht, 1986), under no. 15; and in “Bringing Ter Brugghen and Baburen Up-to-Date,” Bulletin du Musée National de Varsovie 37 (1996): 210–213.

  • [15]

    Leonard J. Slatkes and Wayne E. Franits, The Paintings of Hendrick ter Brugghen, 1588–1629: Catalogue Raisonné (Amsterdam and Philadelphia, 2007), 184–188, nos. A70–A72, RA2, W16.

  • [16]

    For the implications of the pointing gesture, see Albert Blankert, “Heraclitus en Democritus: in het bijzonder in de Nederlands kunst van de zeventiende eeuw,” Nederlands Kunsthistorisch Jaarboek 18 (1967): 56–57.

  • [17]

    In the emblem by Claes Jansz. Visscher, “Niet hoe veel, maer hoe eel” (Not how many, but how fine), which appears in Roemer Visscher, Zinne-Poppen (Amsterdam, 1614), a single lute stands in contrast to an array of wind instruments, including a bagpipe.

  • [18]

    Significantly, the Bagpipe Player has at least one extant workshop replica, and originally had at least two, yet no other version of the Pointing Lute Player exists. If thematic connections between the works were crucial to their conceptual underpinnings, one would expect that the various versions of the Bagpipe Player would also have had pendants. Indeed, in the only seventeenth-century reference to a Ter Brugghen Bagpipe Player, the painting did not have a pendant. See the inventory of Aernout van Lingen, “raad in de Vroedshap,” which was made in Utrecht in 1676 and lists: “Een saakpijp van Ter Brugghen.” The inventory, first published by Marten Jan Bok (“Hendrick Jansz. ter Brugghen,” in Albert Blankert et al., Nieuw licht op de gouden eeuw: Hendrick ter Brugghen en tijdgenoten [Utrecht, 1986], 71), is in the Gemeentearchief Utrecht, Stadsarchief II, inv. no. 3146, 1676.