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Portrait of a Man with a Sheet of Music
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Domenico Fetti
Italian, about 1620
Oil on canvas
68 x 51 1/8 in.
93.PA.17

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Facing the viewer, a bearded man in theatrical clothing poses in front of a loosely painted, classicizing backdrop. He holds a sheet of music in his left hand and with his right hand points at an overturned bowl in the foreground, a vanitas symbol that refers to the emptiness of material possessions. Intense eyes set in an expressive face watch the viewer while he gestures. In the lower right-hand corner, two young men, perhaps admirers, watch with interest.

The bearded man may have been a singer or actor shown in a role from a play; his informality also suggests that he may have been a friend of the artist, Domenico Fetti.