We may not know anything about the artist who painted this work, but simply by looking at the image, it is possible to state several things that help us understand him better. He is a foreign artist who spent much time in Italy, and there he was influenced by Caravaggism in its themes and lights. A tight but well-balanced composition characterises this painting. We can see particular attention to the rendering of faces, clothing, and instruments and a narrative-like representation between the characters. The painter who made this refined oil on canvas is Theodoor Rombouts, a Flemish artist who trained in Antwerp with Abraham Janssens and Nicolas Régnier. Sources indicate him in Rome between 1616 and 1625, as was typical for many of his fellow painters. In the city, he readily approached the lesson of Caravaggio. From around 1625, the painter began to be fascinated by the works of Rubens and Van Dyck, but in this painting, his attention was still entirely focused on Merisi. From him, Rombouts drew a lively and sincere interest in the genre scene, the tavern, but in particular in the theme of the musicians, which would become very popular throughout Europe, thanks also to the dissemination of Caravaggio’s works through the press.
Bibl.: H. Vlieghe, Rombouts, Theodoor, Grove Art Online, Oxford University Press.