Still Life with Musical Instruments
Oil on canvas
Wallraf-Richartz -Museum, Cologne
This painting - Still Life with Musical Instruments is one of the most successful examples of Baschenis's lifetime pursuit: the painting of still-lifes of musical instruments. It shows the artist's unflagging attention to the forms of his subjects, which are geometrical and capricious at the same time. The instruments are studied under a light that reveals their inner poetry but leaves their age-old shape and substance intact. Lovingly selected, these mandolins and horns are seen in terms of a strict construction of shadowed tones, broken only occasionally by a lighter passage. Their arrangement suggests an illusory, unchanging fixity, as if a symphony had been transposed from sound into three-dimensional composition, after the music had stopped.