A Man Playing a Lute, Circle of Valentin de Boulogne, called Le Valentin (1591-1632).

Oil on canvas, 125cm by 94cm.

The painting was purchased by John, 5th Earl of Exeter (1648-1700), whilst on one of his early Grand Tours.

It is recorded in the 1688 Burghley Inventory: ‘My Lords Appartement…The Lower Apartments [The] Tile roome…a Spaniard playing on ye lute Guilt frame by ….’

Valentin studied in Italy with his fellow French artist, Simon Vouet (1590-1649).

Both were influenced by the work of Caravaggio (1571-1610), with its contrasts of light and shade and a restricted palette of colours, mainly black, brown and white.

A version of the painting, possibly autograph, is in The Metropolitan Museum, New York.


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