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Young Woman with a Violin (Saint Cecilia), ca. 1612

  • Orazio Gentileschi, Italian, 1563-1639

Oil on canvas

  • Unframed: 32 7/8 × 38 1/2 inches (83.5 × 97.8 cm)
  • 41 × 47 × 4 inches (104.1 × 119.4 × 10.2 cm)

Gift of Mrs. Edsel B. Ford


On View

  • European: Medieval and Renaissance W220


European Painting

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.

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)

Ratti, Carlo G. Istruzione di quanto può vedersi di più bello in Genova in pittura, scultura, ed architettura, ecc., 2nd ed. Genoa, 1780, vol. 1, p. 265. The Catalogue of that Most Valuable and Important Selection of Original Paintings the Property of Mr. Andrew Wilson, Purchased by Him and Brought to England from Palaces of the First Consequence at Genoa. Sales cat., Squibb's. London, May 6, 1807, p. 6, no. 7 Graves, A. Art Sales from Early in the Eighteenth Century to Early in the Twentieth Century. London, 1918, vol. 1, p. 351. Voss, H. Die Malerei des Barock in Rom. Berlin, 1924, p. 461. Fine Modern Pictures & Drawings and Some Important Pictures by Old Masters, the Property of the Late Major J. A. Coats. Also the Property of Thomas H. Coats, Esq. of Levernholme, Nitshill and Renfrewshire and Formerly from the Collection of the Late W. A. Coats. Sales cat., Christie's. London, April 12, 1935, p. 21, lot 83. [as by Vermeer.] Longhi, R. "Ultimi studi sul Caravaggio e la sua cerchia." Proporzioni: Studi di Storia dell' Art 1 (1943): pp. 46-47 no. 38. Bissell, R. Ward. "Orazio Gentileschi’s Young Woman with a Violin." Bulletin of the DIA 46, no. 4 (1967): pp. 71-77 (ill.). McWhirter, Glenna. "Book Editor Fiddles and Museum Burns." Detroit Free Press (August 13, 1968): p. A-3 (ill.). "Painting Donated to Art Institute." Detroit American (June 2, 1968): p. 10 (ill.). "Recent Aquisitions." Apollo 88, no. 79 (September 1968) p. 227 (fig. 7). Silverman, William A. "$300,000 painting disputed." Detroit News (August 11, 1968): pp. A-1, A-11 (ill.). [claims violin is anachronistic]. “Appendix VI: Conservation of works of Art-1968,” Bulletin of the DIA 48, no. 1: Annual Report (1969): pp. 16-17, p. 16. "La Chroniques des Artes." Gazette des Beaux-Arts 71, no. 1201 (February 1969): suppl., p. 59, no. 248 (ill.). Pepper, D. Stephen. "The Angel Appearing to St. Jerome by Guido Reni, a new acquisition." Bulletin of the DIA 48, no. 2 (1969): pp. 28-35, p. 33, no. 6. Cummings, F. and C. Elam, C. Detroit Institute of Arts Illustrated Handbook. Detroit, 1971, p. 96. Bissell, R.W. "Orazio Gentileschi: Baroque without Rhetoric." Art Quarterly 34 (1971): pp. 275-293, pp. 276, 293 note 1 (fig. 2). Fredericksen, B. and F. Zeri. Census of Pre-Nineteenth-Century Italian Paintings in North American Public Collections. Cambridge, MA, 1972, p. 80. Volpe, C. "Annotazione sulla mostra caravaggesca di Cleveland." Paragone 23, no. 263 (1972): pp. 50-76, p. 67 (fig. 19). Exhibition of Pictures From Museums of the United States of America. Exh. cat., The Hermitage, et al. Leningrad, 1976, p. 10 (ill.). Chefs-d'Oeuvre de musées des Etats Unis: De Giorgione à Picasso. Exh. cat., Musée Marmottan. Paris, 1976, cover and cat. 11 (ill.). Cummings, F.J. University Ligget Antiques Show. Grosse Pointe Woods, 1977, p. 88 (ill.)., p. 89. Cummings, Frederick J., ed. Selected Works from the Detroit Institute of Arts. Detroit, 1979, p. 142, no. 115 (ill.). Bissell, R. Ward. Orazio Gentileschi and the Poetic Tradition in Caravaggesque Painting. University Park, 1981, pp. 24-27, 35, 38, 67, 78; p. 156, cat. 28; p. 153, cat. 25; p. 166, cat. 37 (figs. 48-49). Brigstocke, H. William Buchanan and the 19th Century Art: 100 Letters to his Agents in London and Italy, Paul Mellon Center for British Studies. New Haven and London, 1982, pp. 8, 447. Pepper, D.S. "New York. Baroque Painting at Colnaghi's." The Burlington Magazine 126 (1984): p. 316. Gash, J. "American Baroque." Art History 8 (1985): p. 257. Important Old Master Paintings. Exh. cat., Piero Corsini Gallery. New York, 1986, p. 62, cat. 18 (fig. 1) (detail). De Vito, G. "Alla ricerca del 'vello d'oro' (appunti di un viaggio)." Ricerche sul '600 napoletano, 1986, p. 120. Garrard, M.D. Artemisia Gentileschi: The Image of the Female Hero in Italian Baroque Art. Princeton, 1989, p. 28, 32, 493, note 24, 494, note 34 (fig. 14). Masterpieces from the Detroit Institute of Arts. Exh. cat., Bunkamura Museum of Art, et al. Tokyo, 1989, pp. 54, 204-205, cat. 22 (ill.), p. 156. Fredericksen, B., ed. Index of Paintings Sold in the British Isles during the Nineteenth Century, vol. 2. Santa Barbara, 1990, p. 387, lot 0007. Nicolson, Benedict and Vertova, Luisa ed. Caravaggism in Europe, ed. L. Vertova, 2nd ed. Turin, 1990, vol. 1, p. 115. Wadsworth Atheneum Paintings. Vol. 2, Italy and Spain: Fourteenth through Nineteenth Centuries, ed. J. Cadogan. Hartford, 1991, p. 150. Artemisia. Exh. cat., Casa Buonarroti. Rome, 1991, p. 102, fig. 74 (ill.). Schleier, E. "Orazio Gentileschis 'Verspottung Christi.' Zur Neuwertung eines wiederentdeckten Bildes." Pantheon 51 (1993): p. 196. Giffi Ponzi, E. "Gentileschi a Genova: Un nuovo dipinto e alcune considerazioni sulla cronologia delle opere." Bollettino dei Musei Civici Genovesi 16 (1994): pp. 51-59, pp. 52-53. De Grazia, Diane and Erich Schleier. “St. Cecilia and an Angel: ‘The Heads by Gentileschi, the Rest by Lanfranco,’” Burlington Magazine 136, no. 1091 (February 1994): pp. 73-78; pp. 73, 76 note 12. Fifty Paintings by Old Masters. Exh. cat., Robert Haboldt Gallery. New York, 1995, pp. 66-67 and no. 11, cat. 27. De Grazia, D. and E. Garberson, et. al., Italian Paintings of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Art. Washington, D.C., 1996, pp. 97, 101, note 35, 104, 110, note 21. Voss, H. Baroque Painting in Rome. San Francisco, 1997, vol. 1, p. 104. Paint & Passion. New York, 1998, no. 7, unpaginated. Bissell, R. Ward. Artemesia Gentileschi and the Authority of Art. University Park, 1999, pp. 189, 194, 321–322, 328, fig. 32 (ill.). Papi, G. "Review of R. Ward Bissell, Artemisia Gentileschi and the Authority of Art" The Burlington Magazine 142 (2000): p. 451. Christiansen, K. and J.W. Mann. Orazio and Artemisia Gentileschi. Exh. cat., Palazzo Venezia, et al. Rome, 2001, pp. 166, 189, 190-193, cat. 40 (ill.). Garrard, Mary D. Artemisia Gentileschi Around 1622: The Shaping and Reshaping of an Artistic Identity. Berkeley, Los Angeles, and London, 2001, p. 141 note 78. Hanning, Barbara Russano. “From Saint to Muse: Representations of Saint Cecilia in Florence.” Music in Art 29, no. 1-2 (Spring/Fall 2004): pp. 91-103, pp. 98; 100-101 (fig. 8). Bissell, R.W., A. Derstine, and D. Miller. Masters of Italian Baroque Painting: The Detroit Institute of Arts. London, 2005, pp. 10, 88-93, cat. no. 29. Mann, J.W., ed. Turnhout (Belgium), 2005, p. 36, n. 10 Bissell, R. Ward, Andria Derstine and Dwight Miller. Masters of Italian Baroque Painting: The Detroit Institute of Arts. London, pp. 10, 88–93, no. 29. Mann, Judith W., ed. Artemisia Gentileschi: Taking Stock. Turnhout, 2005, p. 36, note 10; p. 119, note 20. Brigstocke, Hugh. “James Irvine: A Scottish Artist in Italy. Picture Buying in Italy for William Buchanan and Arthur Champernowne.” The Volume of the Walpole Society 74 (2012): 245-479, p. 459. Orlando, Anna. “Artemisia e Genova: (e il ruolo di Domenico Fiasella tra Roma e Genova).” In Artemisia Gentileschi e il suo tempo, ed. Francesca Baldassari. Exh. cat., Palazzo Braschi. Milan, 2016, p. 48. Derstine, Andria. "The Detroit Institute of Arts and Italian Baroque Painting." In Buying Baroque: Italian Seventeenth-Century Paintings Come to America, ed. Edgar Peters Bowron. University Park, 2017, p. 99. Locker, Jesse. “Artemisia Gentileschi: The Literary Formation of an Unlearned Artist.” In Artemisia Gentileschi in a Changing Light, ed. Sheila Barker. Turnhout, Belgium, 2017, p. 94. Orlando, Anna, ed. Caravaggio e i Genovesi: Committenti, collezionisti, pittori. Exh. cat., Palazzo della Meridiana. Genoa, 2019, pp. 163; 167. Mead, Rebecca. “A Brush With Violence,” New Yorker (October 5, 2020): pp. 26-31, p. 28. Korkow, Cory, and Marcia Steele. Variations: The Reuse of Models in Paintings by Orazio & Artemisia Gentileschi. Cleveland, 2021, pp. 7; 11-13 (fig. 10).

Orazio Gentileschi, Young Woman with a Violin (Saint Cecilia), ca. 1612, oil on canvas. Detroit Institute of Arts, Gift of Mrs. Edsel B. Ford, 68.47.