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The Concert
Hendrick ter Brugghen

We seem to have crept to within touching distance of this small group of musicians who turn towards us with surprise. The highly focused light source creates sharp highlights, intense shadows and a sense both of drama and intimacy. Dramatic lighting effects like this are now common, but in the 1620s it was a revolutionary way to paint. The man responsible for this revolution was Michelangelo Caravaggio, who was working in Rome between about 1597 and 1607.

Ter Brugghen was the first important Dutch painter to bring Caravaggio’s ideas back to Holland and this composition reveals his influence in other ways. The half-length figures crowded together within the composition and filling the pictorial space – right up to the edges of the frame – are typical of the Italian artist, as is the clarity and realism of the depiction of the grapes in the foreground.

Key facts
Artist Hendrick ter Brugghen
Artist dates 1588 - 1629
Full title The Concert
Date made about 1626
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 99.1 x 116.8 cm
Acquisition credit Bought with contributions from the National Heritage Memorial Fund, the Art Fund and The Pilgrim Trust, 1983
Inventory number NG6483
Location in Gallery Room 25
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