Lady Playing a Lute

Object Details


Lady Playing a Lute


Bartolomeo Veneto and workshop (Italian, died 1531, active 1502 - 1531)




about 1530


Oil on panel

Object Number:



55.9 × 41.3 cm (22 × 16 1/4 in.)

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Once thought to be a portrait by Leonardo da Vinci, this painting is now associated with Bartolomeo Veneto. Head tilted to the side and wearing an enigmatic expression, a young woman plays the lute. Instead of consulting the open book of music at the bottom of the painting, the lutist faces the viewer. A sheer veil covers her wavy hair, and embroidered and jeweled trimming lines the bodice and sleeves of her green velvet gown. A fur piece is draped over her left arm. Worn by high-ranking women in the 1500s, such furs were thought to keep away fleas.

The many versions and derivations of this portrait made by different artists indicate that the subject enjoyed great popularity in Milan in the first half of the 1500s.

possibly before 1783 -

Possibly Certosa di Pavia Monastery (Pavia, Italy)

after 1783 -

F. Giovanni Picceni (Pavia, Italy)

- 1843

D. Giovanni Frisiani (Milan, Italy), by inheritance to Paolo and Luigi Frisiani, 1843.

1843 - 1880

Paolo Frisiani, died 1880 (Milan, Italy)


and Luigi Frisiani, by inheritance to his son, Carlo Frisiani, 1880.

1880 -

Dr. Carlo Frisiani (Milan, Italy), probably by inheritance to Count Gottardo Frisiani.

in 1947

Count Gottardo Frisiani

- 1953

Galleria Luigi Bellini (Florence, Italy)

1953 - 1976

J. Paul Getty, American, 1892 - 1976 (Malibu, California; Sutton Place, Surrey, England), upon his death, held in trust by the estate.

1976 - 1978

Estate of J. Paul Getty, American, 1892 - 1976, distributed to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1978.

The Art of Music (September 26, 2015 to May 29, 2016)
  • San Diego Museum of Art (San Diego), September 26, 2015 to February 7, 2016

Thode, Henry. "Die Gemäldesammlung des Freiherrn von Minutoli." Zeitschrift für bildende kunst 21 (1886), p. 320.

Carotti, Giulio. "Bibliografia." Archivio Storico Lombardo 2 (September 1890), pp. 782-83.

Uzielli, Gustavo. Ricerche intorno a Leonardo da Vinci. 2nd ed. (Torino: E. Loescher, 1896), vol. 1, pp. 297n1, 298.

Venturi, Adolfo. "Bartolomeo Veneto." L'Arte 2 (1899), p. 456.

Valeri, Francesco Malaguzzi. Milano. 2 vols. (Bergamo: Istituto italiano d'arti grafiche, 1906), vol. 1, p. 37.

Hewett, A. Edith. "A Newly Discovered Portrait by Ambrogio de Predis." The Burlington Magazine for Connoisseurs 10, no. 47 (February 1907), p. 310n8.

Valeri, Francesco Malaguzzi. La Corte di Lodovico il Moro (Milano: Ulrico Hoepli, 1913), pp. 509-10.

Valentiner, William R., and Paul Wescher. The J. Paul Getty Museum Guidebook (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1954), pp. 25-26.

Getty, J. Paul, and Ethel Le Vane. Collector's Choice: The Chronicle of an Artistic Odyssey through Europe (London: W. H. Allen, 1955), pp. 207, 227, 231-32.

Valentiner, William R., and Paul Wescher. The J. Paul Getty Museum Guidebook. 2nd ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1956), p. 19, fig. 1.

Berenson, Bernard. Italian Pictures of the Renaissance: A List of the Principal Artists and Their Works with an Index of Places: Venetian School. 2 vols. (London: Phaidon Press, 1957), vol. 1, p. 12.

Getty, J. Paul. The Joys of Collecting (New York: Hawthorn Books, Inc., 1965), pp. 31, 100, ill.

Scherliess, Volker. Musikalische Noten auf Kunstwerken der italienischen Renaissance bis zum Anfang des 17. Jahrhunderts (Hamburg: Verlag der Musikalienhandlung, 1972), pp. 41, 42, 131-33, 163, fig. 46.

Bugli, Maria Bugli, and Anna Della Valle. Museo Poldi Pezzoli: Dipinti (Milan: Electa, 1982), p. 121, under no. 112.

Lenzner, Robert. The Great Getty: The Life and Loves of J. Paul Getty--Richest Man in the World (New York: Crown Publishers, 1986), p. 107.

Marani, Pietro C. Leonardo e i leonardeschi a Brera (Florence: Cantini, 1987), p. 195, under no. 35.

Slim, H. Colin. "The Lutenist's Hand." Achademia Leonardi Vinci 1 (1988), pp. 32n6, 33, fig. 3.

Pinacoteca di Brera: Scuola veneta (Milan: Electa, 1990), p. 20, under no. 2, entry by Elena Rama.

Jaffé, David. Summary Catalogue of European Paintings in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), p. 5, ill.

Pagnotta, Laura. Bartolomeo Veneto: L'Opera Completa (Florence: Centro di, 1997), pp. 223-24, no. 29p, under no. 29, fig. 72.

Slim, H. Colin. "Multiple Images of Bartolommeo Veneto's Lute-Playing Woman (1520)." In Music in Renaissance Cities and Courts. Jessie Anne Owens, and Anthony M. Cummings, eds. (Warren, Michigan: Harmonie Park Press, 1997), pp. 407, 409, 416, 418, fig. B3.

Slim, H. Colin. "The Lutenist's Hand" (1988). Repr. in H. Colin Slim, Painting Music in the Sixteenth Century: Essays in Iconography (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2002), pp. xiv, 32n6, 33, fig. 3.

Belozerskaya, Marina. Luxury Arts of the Renaissance (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2005), pp. 204-5, fig. v-13.

Wysocka, Elzbieta. Wirtualne Cialo Sztuki: Ochrona i Udostepnianie dziel Audiowizualnych (Warsaw: Narodowe Centrum Kultury, 2013), p. 363, fig. 53.