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The Wandering Musicians
Christian Wilhelm Ernst Dietrich

A pair of good-humoured and energetic musicians are visiting an inn – the sign hanging outside shows a jug and a pair of compasses. One plays a hurdy-gurdy (a bagpipe-like instrument), the other a fiddle. The picture is an example of an eighteenth-century German painter imitating a seventeenth-century Dutch artist; in this case, the composition is based on a work by Adriaen van Ostade, a well-known painter of everyday scenes, and it is done in his style. Dietrich most probably knew van Ostade’s version from an engraving.

Dietrich has signed the work at the bottom right-hand corner and dated it 1745 (he later made an etching of the composition). His friend, the engraver Jean-George Wille, owned the painting and it became well known through a print that he made from it. Wille asked Dietrich for a pendant (a painting to pair it with) in 1761, and the artist gave him a picture of a woman selling pancakes (now lost). Wille also engraved this second work.

Key facts
Artist Christian Wilhelm Ernst Dietrich
Artist dates 1712 - 1774
Full title The Wandering Musicians
Date made 1745
Medium and support Oil on oak
Dimensions 43.3 x 33 cm
Inscription summary Signed; Dated
Acquisition credit Bequeathed by Richard Simmons, 1846
Inventory number NG205
Location in Gallery Not on display
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