An image of Girl with a flute

Jan van Bijlert

(Netherlands 1597 or 1598 – buried 12 November 1671)

Girl with a flute

Other titles:
Young girl with a flute
15th–19th c European art
Further information

A Dutch painter working wholly within the tradition of Caravaggio, van Bijlert favoured such low-life settings as taverns, hostelries and brothels for his human and still-life subjects. Most of his pictures, in the fashion of the time, come supplied with an allegorical or moralistic overlay. 'Girl with a flute' is a good example [of van Bijlert favoured low-life settings together with an allegorical or moralistic overlay], dressing up seventeenth-century erotica as a personification of Music. The woman is either promiscuous or a prostitute: her beckoning smile and partially exposed breast are contrivances of seduction, both painterly and sexual. Displayed in a candle-lit interior, this painted coquette would have quickened as well as embodied the pulse of life. The Pushkin Museum owns a companion to van Bijlert's picture: a man plucking a lute.

AGNSW Handbook, 1999.

circa 1630
oil on canvas
108.0 x 85.8 cm sight; 127.8 x 105.8 x 8.0 cm frame
Signature & date

Signed u.r., black oil "J v Bijlert Fe". Not dated.

Purchased 1967
Accession number
Mr Wick
P & D Colnaghi and Co, pre 28 Sep 1966, London/England, Purchased by Agnew's, 28 September 1966. Letters sent to Colnaghi's 17 October 2001, 15 May 2002 and 15 March 2003 asking for information on when and from whom they acquired the painting. No response.
Agnew's, London, 28 Sep 1966-20 Apr 1967, London/England, Purchased by the AGNSW from Agnew's 1967. Purchased from the exhibition 'Old Masters: recent acquisitions', April - May 1967.