Musical Group on a Balcony: Gerard van Honthorst

Gerard van Honthorst: Musical Group on a Balcony

Musical Group on a Balcony is a 1622 genre painting by Gerard van Honthorst, who was a painter of the Dutch Golden Age during the 17th century. He had extensive training while in Italy and was deeply influenced by Caravaggio’s work. Because of his skill in painting scenes artificially lit, Van Honhorst was posthumously named ‘Gherardo delle Notti’ or ‘Gerard of the Nights’.

Gerard van Honthorst was 30 years of age when he painted this picture.

In this work, however, we are in the daytime listening to a band of players and singers that look down at us from a rooftop balustrade. Yet here also, we can see the artist’s skill in painting light and shade as hats shadow faces under a bright sky. The picture uses the technique of trompe l’oeil or ‘fool the eye’, as the motif of the balustrade draws us into the scene as if it were real.

Gerard van Honthorst’s Musical Group on a Balcony is in the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, United States of America.

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