Orazio Gentileschi was one of the earliest and most gifted painters to be inspired by the genre scenes of Caravaggio in Rome. Here, he must have had in mind Caravaggio's famous picture on the same theme. Orazio's young woman listens intently to a note as it resonates in the pear–shaped body of the instrument. She may be tuning her lute in anticipation of the concert promised by the assortment of recorders, a cornetto and violin, and the song books lying open on the table before her.
The graceful musician and her lute are seen, unexpectedly, from the back, turned three–quarters away from the spectator. Orazio's meticulous attention to detail is such that every surface is described with a precision of focus that gives pleasure to the eye. Dutch painters, famous for their amazingly illusionistic renderings of fabrics, improved their craft by studying Orazio's works. His gift for conveying the textures of fine cloth is shown off here in the sharp gold of the dress, the dull gleam of the scarlet velvet on the stool, and the matte softness of the dark–green cloth covering the table.
More information on this painting can be found in the Gallery publication Italian Paintings of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries, which is available as a free PDF https://www.nga.gov/content/dam/ngaweb/research/publications/pdfs/italian-paintings-17th-and-18th-centuries.pdf