Image credit: The Henry Barber Trust, The Barber Institute of Fine Arts, University of Birmingham

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This sketch belongs to a small series of pen and ink drawings by Tassi that depict figures playing musical instruments. Here, a group of five musicians play whilst dressed in fine Renaissance clothing. Three of the figure’s gazes are drawn off to the right-hand side and two have uneasy expressions. This drawing demonstrates an energetic use of pen and ink, in a manner which befits a dynamic subject such as performers. This is clearly a working drawing as corrections are visible – for instance near the drummer’s hand and foot – which demonstrate how the artist reworked figures until he was satisfied with their poses. Tassi returned to musicians as subjects for paintings and sketches many times. Similar drawings are held in the Victoria and Albert Museum and the British Museum, London.

The Barber Institute of Fine Arts





early 17th C


pen & brown ink over black chalk on paper


H 12.1 x W 15.4 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

purchased, 2016

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The Barber Institute of Fine Arts

University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, West Midlands B15 2TS England

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