Girl with a Flute

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Girl with a Flute
Jan Vermeer van Delft 020.jpg
Artist Johannes Vermeer
Year c. 1665–1670
Medium Oil on panel
Dimensions 20 cm× 17.8 cm(7.9 in× 7.0 in)
Location National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

Girl with a Flute is a small painting attributed to the Dutch Golden Age painter Johannes Vermeer, executed 1665–1670. The work is in possession of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., just as Woman Holding a Balance , A Lady Writing a Letter and Girl with a Red Hat (also attributed to Vermeer).

Dutch Golden Age painting

Dutch Golden Age painting is the painting of the Dutch Golden Age, a period in Dutch history roughly spanning the 17th century, during and after the later part of the Eighty Years' War (1568–1648) for Dutch independence.

Johannes Vermeer 17th-century Dutch painter

Johannes Vermeer was a Dutch Baroque Period painter who specialized in domestic interior scenes of middle-class life. He was a moderately successful provincial genre painter in his lifetime but evidently was not wealthy, leaving his wife and children in debt at his death, perhaps because he produced relatively few paintings.

National Gallery of Art national art museum in Washington, D.C.

The National Gallery of Art, and its attached Sculpture Garden, is a national art museum in Washington, D.C., located on the National Mall, between 3rd and 9th Streets, at Constitution Avenue NW. Open to the public and free of charge, the museum was privately established in 1937 for the American people by a joint resolution of the United States Congress. Andrew W. Mellon donated a substantial art collection and funds for construction. The core collection includes major works of art donated by Paul Mellon, Ailsa Mellon Bruce, Lessing J. Rosenwald, Samuel Henry Kress, Rush Harrison Kress, Peter Arrell Browne Widener, Joseph E. Widener, and Chester Dale. The Gallery's collection of paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, sculpture, medals, and decorative arts traces the development of Western Art from the Middle Ages to the present, including the only painting by Leonardo da Vinci in the Americas and the largest mobile created by Alexander Calder.

Contents

Description

It is contested whether the painting can be attributed to Johannes Vermeer. Possibly another painter finished the painting after an initial start by Vermeer. [1] The composition is comparable to Girl with a Red Hat, the only other work Vermeer painted on panel. The bluegreen jacket with the fur lining is also used in Woman Holding a Balance and The Concert and is listed as a 'oude groene false mantel met een witte bonte kant' in Vermeer's inventory after his death. [2] Just like Girl with a Red Hat and Girl with a Pearl Earring the model wears a glass, lacquered pearl earring.

<i>The Concert</i> (Vermeer) stolen painting by Johannes Vermeer

The Concert is a painting by Dutchman Johannes Vermeer depicting a man and two women performing music. It belonged to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, but was stolen in 1990 and remains missing.

<i>Girl with a Pearl Earring</i> 1665 painting by Johannes Vermeer, in the collection of the Mauritshuis

Girl with a Pearl Earring is an oil painting by Dutch Golden Age painter Johannes Vermeer, dated c. 1665. Going by various names over the centuries, it became known by its present title towards the end of the 20th century after the large pearl earring worn by the girl portrayed there. The work has been in the collection of the Mauritshuis in The Hague since 1902 and has been the subject of various literary treatments. In 2006, the Dutch public selected it as the most beautiful painting in the Netherlands.

Girl with a Flute is a so-called tronie , a study of a remarkable facial expression or a stock character in costume. This was a popular genre in Dutch Golden Age painting. Tronies were produced for the mass market, not for specific patrons. Unlike with portraits the models were always anonymous.

A tronie is a common type, or group of types, of works common in Dutch Golden Age painting and Flemish Baroque painting that shows an exaggerated facial expression or a stock character in costume. It is related to the French word “tronche” which is slang for “mug” or head.

Facial expression motions or positions of subcutaneous human face muscles, conveying emotional state

A facial expression is one or more motions or positions of the muscles beneath the skin of the face. According to one set of controversial theories, these movements convey the emotional state of an individual to observers. Facial expressions are a form of nonverbal communication. They are a primary means of conveying social information between humans, but they also occur in most other mammals and some other animal species.

A stock character is a stereotypical fictional character in a work of art such as a novel, play, film, or a movie whom audiences recognize from frequent recurrences in a particular literary tradition. Stock characters are archetypal characters distinguished by their flatness. As a result, they tend to be easy targets for parody and to be criticized as clichés. The presence of a particular array of stock characters is a key component of many genres. The point of the stock character is to move the story along by allowing the audience to already understand the character.

Owners

Girl with a Red Hat Vermeer - Girl with a Red Hat.JPG
Girl with a Red Hat

Girl with a Flute was in possession of the family of Pieter van Ruijven and was sold at the 1696 Dissius auction in Amsterdam. The work was probably one of the three tronies with catalogue numbers 38, 39 and 40. [3] In the 19th century the painting was owned by the Van Son family in Brabant. In 1923 the American art collector Joseph E. Widener bought the painting. Widener donated his extensive and valuable art collection in 1939 to the National Gallery of Art, including this Vermeer painting.

Pieter van Ruijven Dutch patron

Pieter Claesz. van Ruijven is best known as Johannes Vermeer's patron for the better part of the artist's career.

Amsterdam Capital city of the Netherlands and municipality

Amsterdam is the capital city and most populous municipality of the Netherlands. Its status as the capital is mandated by the Constitution of the Netherlands, although it is not the seat of the government, which is The Hague. Amsterdam has a population of 854,047 within the city proper, 1,357,675 in the urban area and 2,410,960 in the metropolitan area. The city is located in the province of North Holland in the west of the country but is not its capital, which is Haarlem. The Amsterdam metropolitan area comprises much of the northern part of the Randstad, one of the larger conurbations in Europe, which has a population of approximately 8.1 million.

Joseph E. Widener American businessman

Joseph Early Widener was a wealthy American art collector who was a founding benefactor of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. A major figure in Thoroughbred horse racing, he was head of New York's Belmont Park and builder of Miami, Florida's Hialeah Park racetrack.

Notes

  1. Bailey, page 135
  2. Bailey, page 194
  3. Dissius auction

Further reading

Related Research Articles

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