witt art

Interior with a Woman Playing a Virginal (c.1660-1667). Emanuel de Witte (Dutch, 1617-1692). Oil on canvas. Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen.

The complicated spatial construction is achieved by the perspective and the patches of sunlight coming in. It seems as if an amorous situation is being depicted. Playing the instrument is explained as a reference to love. It is also thought that the man in bed, who is listening to the music, is suffering from a disease, namely erotic melancholy, and the music is a medicine against the pain.

The Judgment of Paris: Hermes (center) instructs Paris (right) to make his choice among the three goddesses, two of whom wait at the left.  Side A of an Attic black-figure amphora, attributed to the Witt Painter; ca. 560-550 BCE.  Now in the Louvre.

Emanuel de Witte - Interior with a Woman at the Virginals

between 1665 and 1670

oil on canvas

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam


A blistering story of obsession, music and obscene money. A story of visionaries, criminals and moguls. How Music Got Free is about the greatest pirate in history, the most powerful executive in the music business, and an illegal website six times the size of iTunes.

Our cover ‘displays’ one of the main protagonists, and hints at how one man’s crime snowballs into an explosive moment in history. 

Published by The Bodley Head in June 2015.