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Title The Itinerant Musician
Collection Victoria and Albert Museum
Artist Ostade, Adriaen van (Dutch painter, 1610–1685)
Date Earliest about 1647
Date Latest about 1647
Signed yes
Description In the left foreground, an intinerant hurdy-gurdy player has stopped outside a house and is turning the wheel on his instrument for the enjoyment of three little children and their father who have gathered by the door to listen to the music. Adriaen van Ostade was a painter, draughtsman and etcher and probably a pupil (together with Adriaen Brouwer) of Frans Hals in Haarlem. Hals influenced him very little, whereas Brouwer had a decisive influence on the evolution of his idiosyncratic portrayals of peasant life. This is among a number of figure paintings by Adriaen from c. 1640 which display a broad, sketchy handling that has a certain affinity to that of Frans Hals (e.g. Laughing Peasant, 1646; Rotterdam, Mus. Boymans–van Beuningen, inv. 1642). In these later works the tonality shifts from blue-grey to a warmer green-brown. Adriaen van Ostade's peasants are mostly shown relishing the small pleasures permitted by their modest existence, the simplicity of peasant life is held up as a model (Vivitur parvo bene: ‘One may live well on little') or even idealised, in the manner of bucolic poetry.
Current Accession Number CAI.83
Inscription front ur 'A. v. Ostade'
Subject everyday life; figure
Measurements 36.2 x 33.7 cm
Material oil on panel (hardwood {oak})
Acquisition Details Bequeathed by Constantine Alexander Ionides 1900.
Provenance Christie's, 1 May 1880, lot 101, as 'The Hurdy-Gurdy Player', purchased by Constantine Alexander Ionides for £300.
Principal Exhibitions Old Masters, Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1894, no. 59.
Publications John Smith, A catalogue raisonné of the works of the most eminent Dutch, Flemish, and French painters, 9 vols., London, 1829-42, Supp. ix. p. 86; E. Trautscholdt, ‘Notes on Adriaen van Ostade', The Burlington Magazine, liv, 1929, pp. 74–80; C. Hofstede de Groot, A catalogue raisonné of the works of the most eminent Dutch painters of the seventeeth century, 8 vols., London, 1907-1927, vol. iii, 1910, no. 436; Basil S. Long, Catalogue of the Constantine Alexander Ionides collection. Vol. 1, Paintings in oil, tempera and water-colour, together with certain of the drawings, London, 1925, p. 46; Kauffmann, C.M., Catalogue of Foreign Paintings, I. Before 1800, London, Victoria and Albert Museum, 1973, p. 208, cat. no. 259.
Notes

CAI. 83 is dated to ca. 1647 due to its close resemblance to a signed and dated etching of the same subject by Adriaen (see D. Rovinski and N. Tchetchouline, L'oeuvre gravé d'Adrien van Ostade, 1912, no. 8, repr.). The painting also shows affinities with van Ostade's Wandering Musician,in the Hermitage, St. Petersburg and A Hurdy-Gurdy Player both dated 1648 (repr. Kusnetzow, no. 20).

The collection formed by Constantine Ionides includes works of a wide variety of schools, periods and artists. His collection includes Old Masters, 17th century works, contemporary British works and French 19th century works. Constantine formed friendships with artists of the day, especially Legros, who, having spent 17 years in Britain, became a naturalised British citizen. Constantine proved a stable and generous buyer of Legros' work, while Legros, in turn, became an advisor in the matters of art to the attentive Constantine. Constantine's plans concerning his collection conformed to a more ‘public-welfare' vein of thought than his father or brother. He decided to donate his collection to the Victoria & Albert Museum, instead of privately distributing it or disposing of it in a sales room. His will states: 'All my pictures both in oil and water colors and crayon or colored chalks (but subject as to my family portraits to the interest herein before given to my said Wife) and all my etchings drawings and engravings to the South Kensington Museum for the benefit of the nation to be kept there as one separate collection to be called "The Constantine Alexander Ionides Collection" and not distributed over the Museum or lent for exhibition. And I desire that the said Etchings Drawings and Engravings shall be framed and glazed by and at the expense of the authorities of the Museum so that Students there can easily see them.' The collection bequeathed to the museum in 1901 comprises 1138 pictures, drawing and prints, to which a further 20 items were added on the death of his widow in 1920. The works are listed in the V&A catalogue of the Constantine Alexander Ionides collection.

Rights Owner © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Author Jennifer Sliwka
 

 

 

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