Gerrit van Honthorst, Dutch, 1592-1656
Title: A Musical Party
Date: c.1616-1618
Medium: Oil on canvas
131.5 x 182 cm
Credit Line: Heritage Gift, Lochlann and Brenda Quinn, 2001
Object Number: NGI.4693
DescriptionTrained by the Utrecht history painter Abraham Bloemaert, Van Honthorst travelled to Rome in the early 1610s where he absorbed the work of Caravaggio and his followers. His preference for using candlelight to create dramatic chiaroscuro scenes earned him the Italian nickname ‘Gherardo delle Notti’ (‘Gerard of the Nights’). He painted religious as well as genre subjects, enabling him to attract many Italian churchmen and noblemen as his patrons. After his return to Utrecht in 1620 Van Honthorst continued painting ?gure scenes in his adaption of Caravaggio’s style, as did his fellow townsmen Hendrick ter Brugghen and Dirck van Baburen. The three artists are jointly referred to as the ‘Utrecht Caravaggisti’.

Painted in Rome, this work exudes a solemn atmosphere and has a restrained colour palette characteristic of the artist’s early works. A Musical Party was bought in 1756 for James Caulfeild, 1st earl of Charlemont, as a work by Caravaggio. In Dublin the picture most likely hung among the earl’s most important paintings at Charlemont House.

March 2016

ProvenancePossibly Cardinal Francesco Maria del Monte, Rome, by 1627; purchased by Cardinal Francesco Barberini, Rome, in 1628; probably purchased from his descendants by John Parker in 1756 for James Caulfeild, Viscount and future 1st Earl of Charlemont; by descent to James Caulfeild, 3rd Earl of Charlemont; probably Sotheby's, London, 21 October 1964, lot 91; Sotheby's, London, 22 February 1984, lot 90 (Studio of Honthorst); purchased by Trafalgar Galleries, London, where it remained until 2001; Heritage Gift, Lochlann and Brenda Quinn, 2001
Exhibition HistoryRoyal Irish Institution, Dublin, 1816

Irish Industrial Exhibition: A Gallery of Old Masters, Royal Dublin Society, Dublin, 1853

Irish Institution, Dublin, 1854

Exhibition of Arts, Industries and Manufacturers, Exhibition Palace, Dublin, 1872

Trafalgar Galleries at the Royal Academy IV, Royal Academy, London, 1985

Trafalgar Galleries. Anniversary Exhibition, Trafalgar Galleries, London, 1996

Da Caravaggio a Ceruti, Monastero di Santa Giulia, Brescia, 1998-1999

Caravaggio e l'Europa; Il movimento caravaggesco internazionale da Caravaggio a Mattia Preti, Palazzo Reale, Milan, 15 October 2005 - 6 February 2006

Taking Stock: Acquisitions 2000-2010, National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin, 13 March 2010 - 25 July 2010

Les Bas-fonds du Baroque, Musee des Beaux Arts de la ville de Paris, Paris, 24 Feb 2015 - 24 May 2015

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