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This is another query about a painting of the baroque guitar with lute.  I have this attributed to Bartolomeo Manfredi but elsewhere it seems to be attributed to Theodoor Rombouts.  It has the title Das Musizierende Paar.   Which is the correct artists?

What I also wanted to know was whether anyone has seen the actual painting and whether it is possible to read the music they are playing.   From the reproductions I have it looks as if it is tablature.



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I couldn't find this image by googling Manfredi or Rombouts.  From Artothek's site I discovered that it is in Bayer: Staatsgemaidesammlungen (translation from German? somebody please!), and that they attribute it to Manfredi.  Also turned up the attached guitar and lute combination by Rombouts that you may know already.


The German  seems to translate as Bavarian State Picture Collection.   I don't know whether this is an art gallery or an organisation that makes available paintings in German art galleries.   The painting is reproduced in an article in the latest Early Music - attributed to Rombouts but I traced in on line to a page which attributes it to Manfredi.   I bought the poster anyway as it is a super picture.   I hadn't come across the one you have attached - but that is also a super picture - in fact what I was looking for - someone singing to baroque guitar accompaniment.   Many thanks for that. 

It is in Neuburg an der Donau. The staff of the museum is convinced that Rombouts painted it and not Manfredi. They have labeled it A couple making music (in. 4836). 

I have a high resolution digital file. It's not really possible to see what is on the paper but it looks a bit like staff notation, with some music notes in the upper stave. So It could be a song with basso continuo. 

Thank you for the information.   Rombauts was from Antwerp I gather.  Interesting that he should paint a couple apparently performing a song with basso continuo.   The two of them could be playing together as well.  Food for thought.

I wonder what kind of guitar she is playing.  The bridge seems wide enough to carry 5 courses but the neck seems to be quite narrow making this a 4 course Renaissance guitar.  In any case, the string length of the guitar and lute seem to be very similar.

Well - paintings are not photographs and they are not always a reliable source of information about the way instruments really were.  The string lengths are the way they are because he is painted at an angle with his instrument sloping towards the viewer and to the right hand side of the picture as you look at it  whilst she is face on. I think it is a 5-course guitar.  The narrow  neck is just down to the painter. I have an enlargement of it stuck up on my wall but when things are enlarged they may be distorted.  It looks to me as if they are playing from tablature - and of course he is telling her what to do!

Thanks for the information.  It would be interesting to see the music they are playing but I don't think the artist would have been so careful about the detail there.  I must say, the lute player reminds me of my guitar teacher  - a real taskmaster who insisted on precision which I never fully mastered to his satisfaction.  But what a joy this painting is!

and of course he is telling her what to do! 

Or he is pointing at the score asking her how on earth to play that chord!

On my high resolution file of this painting I see impressionistic tablature staves. No readable numbers or letters. It doesn't look like alfabeto though.

Do you know the dimensions of the other painting which you have reproduced in your book on p.30.  Is ii possible to see a clearer coloured reproduction of it.

It's a rather large painting. I had permission to use the only existing photo (in colour) belonging to the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. It's in a poor resolution.

It wasn't possible to include any coloured reproductions in the book. I took the photo's of the details of the stringing myself, in a much higher resolution. They can be seen in colour on my web site.

What you can see of this painting is convincing but you can never tell whether these things have been restored, retouched etc. People who have actually seen the painting of the theorbo player by Antividuto Gramatico claim that the guitar lying on the table in front of him is clearly shown with octave stringing on the third course. I haven't seen it but looking at a reproduction it seems to me that this is down to the angle at which the instrument is shown and the way the light falls across the picture.  I am not convinced by the Carlo Cantu. One person has claimed that he is playing a 4-course guitar and the two strings of the 4th course are placed far apart so that you can play each one individually to avoid 6-4 chords. It would be interesting to know the dimensions of the drawing. Does anyone know? 


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