Trompe l’Oeil with Violin, Music Book, and Recorder

Cornelius Norbertus Gijsbrechts Flemish

Not on view

With its bow pointing to a recorder, a violin presides over a deceptively casual array of sheet music, a newspaper, a booklet, and implements for writing (uncut feathers, a pen case, an ink bottle, a penknife, and quill pens). Composing and making music—a creative art form akin to painting—was Gijsbrechts’s theme in this trompe l’oeil tour de force. A letter draped over the leather strap anchors the rhythmic composition on the right; it not only advertises the artist’s position as court painter to Christian V, king of Denmark, but also serves as the artist’s signature. The violin turns respectfully toward this precious document.

Trompe l’Oeil with Violin, Music Book, and Recorder, Cornelius Norbertus Gijsbrechts (Flemish, 1625/29–after 1677), Oil on canvas

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SMK Photo/Jacob Schou-Hansen