Grootenboer Response

The Merry Fiddler by Gerard van Honthorst 1623

The Merry Fiddler by Gerard van Honthorst 1623 depicts a portrait of a man wearing fancy Italian style clothing. Painting Italian clothing is unusual for a Dutch painter. The man in the painting leans out the window towards the audience thus portraying a form demonstrating for theatrical performance. He tries to cheers with the viewer. Because the window is framing the portrait of the man, It looks as though the fiddler is leaning out of the painting to connect with the viewer. According to Grootenboer, he mentions the works of Elizabeth Burns and her book on theatricality. Thus, concluding that “theatricality can be understood as calculated affected or studied social behavior as well as the place from which one sees. Additionally, Grootenboer mentioned the importance of how augmented portraits often have clues, like emblems or objects that reveal one’s character. Thus, in this painting of the fiddler, perhaps he is wearing extravagant clothing while holding a nice instruments and glass of liquor. He is flushed in the face and smiling. It seems as though he has no worries and is living a carefree and wealthier lifestyle.

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