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Possibly by Titian, The Music Lesson

Key facts
Full title The Music Lesson
Artist Possibly by Titian
Artist dates active about 1506; died 1576
Date made about 1535
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 99 × 120 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1824
Inventory number NG3
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
The Music Lesson
Possibly by Titian

A boy sings from a partbook while his music master beats time with his finger and perhaps sings along. A woman leans her arm against the teacher’s shoulder, her head tilted with a faraway look as if she is listening to the music. A youth accompanies the boy on a viol da gamba, while a young man behind him plays the recorder. The theme of music-making is often associated in art with lovemaking and the passing of time.

For many years The Music Lesson was believed to have been painted in the early 1600s by an artist imitating the style of Titian. Cleaning and technical examination revealed that the painting has much in common with pictures painted by Titian and his workshop in the 1530s.

This type of picture – a group of figures with the suggestion of a story or portraiture – was made popular by Giorgione, with whom Titian associated closely in his youth.

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