Allegory of Music

Artist: Laurent de La Hyre (French, Paris 1606–1656 Paris)

Date: 1649

Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 41 5/8 x 56 3/4 in. (105.7 x 144.1 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Charles B. Curtis Fund, 1950

Accession Number: 50.189


The allegorical figure tunes a theorbo. At her shoulder is a songbird, symbol of natural music, whereas by contrast she may be a representation of modern music theory and practice. To the right are various contemporary instruments and scores: a lute, a violin, two recorders, a vocal exercise, and a song in two parts. This canvas, originally flanked by two music-making putti (Musée Magnin, Dijon), belonged to a series of the seven Liberal Arts commissioned by Gédéon Tallemant (1613–1668) for his house in the Marais quarter in Paris.