Prince of instruments: The lute in art

Thursday 19 April, 11am–4pm

Sainsbury Wing Conference Room 1

Faith Waddell and Adam Busiakiewicz

£45/£42 conc./£38 Members & Patrons

Listen to the lute and learn about its role in art.

Spend the day with art historian and lute player, Adam Busiakiewicz, who will focus on images of the lute within the National Gallery Collection and perform music from the Renaissance and Baroque periods with soprano singer Faith Waddell. 

What to expect from the day:

11–11.45am: From Renaissance to Baroque

The lute was used to convey a range of meanings. We look at paintings by some of the greats: Holbein, Titian, Vermeer, Steen, and de Hooch.

11.25–11.55am: Break (water provided)

11.55am–12.45pm: How to make a lute

Lute makers Stephen Barber and Sandi Harris explain the importance of paintings in the reconstruction of this ancient instrument. They will explain and show the complex processes in lute making, and bring along examples of carving, woods, and materials to hold.

12.45–1pm: Discussion: how is the lute symbolic? How important are the paintings of lutes for today’s instrument makers?

1–2pm: Lunch (not provided)

2–3pm: The decline of the lute

We look at why the popularity of the lute declined, and its final performance in Rococo paintings.

Tutor biography

Adam Busiakiewicz is an art historian, lecturer, and lute musician from the University of Warwick. He completed a BA degree in History at UCL and an MA at Sotheby’s Institute of Art. He lectures at the Wallace Collection and for the Arts Society.

Image above: Detail from Hans Holbein the Younger, The Ambassadors, 1533