Jan Joseph Horemans I or
Jans Joseph Horemans II
(Flemish, 1682–1759 or 1714–after 1790)
A Musical Party
Oil on canvas, 18 3/4" x 22 1/8"
Gift of Alice Tweed Tuohy
Whether by the hand of Jan Horemans the Elder
or that of his son, A Musical Party is clearly patterned after earlier
Dutch genre paintings of the 1600s, in which figures are shown in
box-like interiors, engaged in the activities of middle class life.
In such paintings, special attention is paid to the interior architecture,
its furnishings, and the detailed surfaces of ornate objects. Though
dimly lit, this painting and the earlier works it is modeled after
use subtle touches of light to soften their otherwise rigid and static
A common feature of Dutch genre paintings of this period was the
inclusion of family portraits. A Musical Party features two such
portraits flanking the mantlepiece. The portraits and the formal
gathering serve as a reference to family tradition, and furthermore,
to the art of the past. In Dutch art, references to music often served
as a reminder of the fragile and fleeting nature of earthly life,
in much the same way as did still life objects like fruit, game animals,
and fine possessions.