Skip to main content
A Man playing a Lute
Hendrick ter Brugghen

Ter Brugghen focusses on a lute player lost in his art, drawing us close to the man by using strong, dramatic lighting to highlight the folds under his eyes, the long shadows of his fingers and his shiny red nose – so red that ter Brugghen may have been exaggerating for comic effect. Perhaps he was suggesting that the man had a few glasses of wine before launching into song. All this makes the player seem more real, as though he is singing directly to us.

Pictures of single musicians painted half-length were a particular specialism of a group of painters based in Utrecht in the 1620s. They were know as the ‘Dutch Caravaggists’ because they had lived and studied in Rome and were heavily influenced by the distinctive, dramatic style of Caravaggio and his followers.

Key facts
Artist Hendrick ter Brugghen
Artist dates 1588 - 1629
Full title A Man playing a Lute
Date made 1624
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 100.5 x 78.7 cm
Inscription summary Signed; Dated
Acquisition credit Bought, 1963
Inventory number NG6347
Location in Gallery Room 25
Download image
Download low-resolution image

Download an 800px wide, 72dpi copy of this image.

License this image

License and download a high resolution image for reproductions up to A3 size from the National Gallery Picture Library.

License image
Download low resolution image

This image is licensed for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons agreement.

Examples of non-commercial use are:

  • Research, private study, or for internal circulation within an educational organisation (such as a school, college or university)
  • Non-profit publications, personal websites, blogs, and social media

The image file is 800 pixels on the longest side.

As a charity, we depend upon the generosity of individuals to ensure the collection continues to engage and inspire. Help keep us free by making a donation today.

Yes, I'd like to donate
Download low resolution image

You must agree to the Creative Commons terms and conditions to download this image.

Creative Commons Logo