This image of a young woman playing the violin has traditionally been interpreted as a personification of Saint Cecilia, an early Christian martyr and the patron saint of music, whose presumed body had been exhumed intact in 1599. Orazio may have used his daughter, the painter Artemisia Gentileschi, as a model for the woman, thus adding a note of realism to his representation. Orazio's interest in realism has been credited to the influence of Caravaggio, an artist whom Gentileschi admired and whose style he popularized.
Artist Orazio Gentileschi, Italian, 1563-1639
Title
  • Young Woman with a Violin (Saint Cecilia)
  • Artemisia Gentileschi as Saint Cecilia (alternate title)
Date ca. 1612
Medium oil on canvas
Dimensions Unframed: 32 7/8 × 38 1/2 inches (83.5 × 97.8 cm)
Framed: 41 × 47 × 4 inches (104.1 × 119.4 × 10.2 cm)
Credit Line Gift of Mrs. Edsel B. Ford
Accession Number 68.47
Department European Painting
On View European: Medieval and Renaissance W220, Level 2 (see map)
by 1780, sold by (Palazzo Brignole, Genoa, Italy);
Carlo Cambiaso;
January 16, 1805, until 1807, acquired by (Andrew Wilson, England) [for 1200 L];
May 6, 1807, sold by (Peter Coxe, Squibb's, London, England) lot 7 [as Saint Cecilia];
1807, acquired by Thomas Trevor Hampden, 2nd Viscount Hampden (England);
William Alan Coats, Esq. (Skelmorlie Castle, Dalkairth, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland);
by descent to Major J. A. Coats, Esq. (Levernholme, Nitshill and Renfrewshire);
by descent to Thomas H. Coats, Esq. (Levernholme, Nitshill and Renfrewshire);
April 12, 1935, sold by (Christie's, London, England) auction T.H. Coats, Esq., lot 83 [as by Vermeer];
1935, purchased by Bennett;
Anthony Rau (England);
acquired by (Arthur Appleby, London, England);
acquired by (Wildenstein and Co., New York, New York, USA);
purchased by Mrs. Edsel B. Ford;
1968-present, gift to the Detroit Institute of Arts (Detroit, Michigan, USA)
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