Shepherd with a Flute

Object Details


Shepherd with a Flute


Giovanni Girolamo Savoldo (Italian (Lombard), active about 1480 - after 1548)




about 1525


Oil on canvas


97 x 77.9 cm (38 3/16 x 30 11/16 in.)

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The large figure of a shepherd sits before a darkening blue sky with a wide-brimmed hat shading his eyes. Resting his left arm on a staff, he holds a flute in his hand. With his right hand he gestures towards the rustic scene of a farmhouse partially obscured by ancient ruins looming behind.

The shepherd's face seems to be a realistic portrait, and Giovanni Gerolamo Savoldo's detailed treatment of his clothing indicates how closely Savoldo studied his model. Whether the painting depicts a specific person is unclear. More probably, the musical shepherd was meant to idealize and celebrate the charms of pastoral life for a sophisticated urban audience. Paintings of this type became popular in Venice in the early 1500s, when pastoral poetry and drama also began to flower.

by late 19th century - about 1927

Duke of Anhalt (Wörlitz, Germany), sold to Paul Cassirer and Julius Böhler jointly, about 1927.

about 1927

Galerie Paul Cassirer (Munich, Germany; Lucerne, Switzerland; Berlin, Germany; London, England)

about 1927

and Julius Böhler Gallery (Munich, Germany; Lucerne, Switzerland; Berlin, Germany; London, England)

about 1927 - 1955

Count Alessandro Contini-Bonacossi, Italian, 1878 - 1955 (Florence, Italy; Rome, Italy), by inheritance within the Contini Bonacossi family, 1955.

1955 - about 1970

Contini-Bonacossi Family (Florence, Italy; Rome, Italy), sold to Eugene Thaw, about 1970.

about 1970 - 1984

Eugene Thaw (New York, New York), sold to Carlsen-Postma Co. [Daniel Varsano], 1984.

1984 - 1985

Carlsen-Postma Co. (Connecticut; England), sold through P & D Colnaghi & Co. Ltd. (New York) to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1985.

La pittura bresciana del Rinascimento (May to September, 1939) (Cat. 176)
  • Palazzo della Pinacoteca comunale Tosio-Martinengo, (Brescia), May to September, 1939
I pittori della realtà in Lombardia (April to July, 1953) (Cat. e)
  • Palazzo Reale (Milano), April to July, 1953
Giorgione e i Giorgioneschi (June 11 to October 23, 1955) (Cat. 110)
  • Palazzo Ducale (Venezia), June 11 to October 23, 1955
The Genius of Venice, 1500-1600 (November 25, 1983 to March 11, 1984) (Cat. 85)
  • Royal Academy of Arts (London), November 25, 1983 to March 11, 1984
The Age of Caravaggio / Caravaggio e il suo tempo (February 5 to June 30, 1985) (Cat. 12)
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art, (New York), February 5 to April 14, 1985
  • Museo e Gallerie Nazionali di Capodimonte, May 12 to June 30, 1985
Giovanni Gerolamo Savoldo: tra Foppa, Giorgione e Caravaggio (March 3 to September 3, 1990) (Cat. I.30)
  • Convento di San Salvatore - Santa Giulia, (Brescia), March 3 to May 31, 1990
  • Schirn Kunsthalle (Frankfurt), July 8 to September 3, 1990
Pittori della realtà: le ragioni di una rivoluzione da Foppa e Leonardo a Caravaggio e Ceruti / Painters of Reality: The Legacy of Leonardo and Caravaggio in Lombard Painting (February 14 to August 14, 2004) (Cat. 47)
  • Museo Civico Ala Ponzone, (Cremona), February 14 to May 2, 2004
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art, (New York), May 27 to August 15, 2004