Lute Player

Artist: Valentin de Boulogne (French, Coulommiers-en-Brie 1591–1632 Rome)

Date: ca. 1625–26

Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 50 1/2 x 39 in. (128.3 x 99.1 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Purchase, Walter and Leonore Annenberg Acquisitions Endowment Fund; Director's Fund; Acquisitions Fund; James and Diane Burke and Mr. and Mrs. Mark Fisch Gifts; Louis V. Bell, Harris Brisbane Dick, Fletcher, and Rogers Funds and Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, 2008

Accession Number: 2008.459


The greatest French follower of Caravaggio, Valentin was one of the outstanding artists in seventeenth-century Rome. His most frequent subjects are scenes of merriment, with music-making, drinking, and fortune-telling. They are stock Caravaggesque themes, but painted in a direct and vivid style. This canvas, showing a soldier of fortune singing a love madrigal, is unique in Valentin’s career. It is perhaps emblematic of the sobriquet he took in Rome: Amador, Spanish for "lover boy." The painting belonged to the prestigious collection of Cardinal Mazarin, minister to King Louis XIV, and one of the great collectors of the seventeenth century.