Musical Group

A man playing a mandolin gazes ardently at an attractive young woman seated on her mother’s lap. The older woman looks down at a child with a tambourine, who in turn stares at the man's hands. Navez painted this scene during an extended period studying and painting in Rome. His Italian models are outfitted in elaborate costumes, which are as much the subject of the painting as the relationships implied by the figures’ glances.


The artist, sold to Steengracht, 1822; Johan Steengracht van Oostkapelle, The Hague (1822–d. 1846); Hendrik Steengracht van Oosterland, The Hague, his son, by descent (1846–d. 1875); Hendrik Adolf Steengracht van Duivenvoorde, The Hague, his son, by descent (1875–d. 1912, his sale, Georges Petit, Paris, 9 June 1913, no. 102, as La Famille italienne, sold to Haber); Haber (from 1913); Würthle, Vienna (by 1931); The German Centre, London (until 1975, sale, Sotheby’s, London, 15 Oct. 1975, no. 93, sold to Weitzner);¹ [Julius H. Weitzner, London, sold to the Clark, 9 Feb. 1976]; Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, 1976.

1. The Vienna and London provenance both come from the Sotheby’s sales catalogue of 1975. Würthle may refer to the Galerie Würthle.

François-Joseph Navez

Belgian, 1787–1869

Musical Group


Oil on canvas

46 x 54 3/4 in. (116.8 x 139.1 cm)

Acquired by the Clark, 1976