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Paris Bordone (1500–1571)
Standing Man Playing a Viola da Gamba (Violoncello), late 1530s
Black and white chalk
7 3/8 x 3 1/8 inches (188 x 83 mm.)
Purchased by Pierpont Morgan, 1909; I, 75
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The present figure is inspired by a similar portrayal of a musician in a pen-and-ink drawing of a pastoral concert by Titian, to whom Bordone was briefly apprenticed.

Whereas Titian's figure is using the bow to point in the general direction of the area circumscribed by the legs of his seated female companion, Bordone's more autonomous figure is playing the instrument. The composition anticipates the poetic depictions of mythological subjects that became popular in the mid-sixteenth century.

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The programs of The Morgan Library & Museum are made possible with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Background images: Photography by Todd Eberle unless otherwise noted. © 2006 Todd Eberle.