Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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Harpsichord

Designer:
Michele Todini (Italian, Saluzzo, Piedmont, bapt. 1616–1690, Rome) , designer
Artist:
Basilio Onofri (Italian, Rome active second half 17th century) , gilt work
Artist:
Jacob Reiff (Austrian, Freiburg 1627–1700, active Rome 1650–1680) , carving
Date:
ca. 1670
Geography:
Rome, Italy
Culture:
Italian (Roman)
Medium:
Wood, gilt, ebony, ivory, parchment
Dimensions:
Harpsichord: 14 3/4 in. × 9 ft. 10 in. × 38 in. (37.5 × 299.7 × 96.5 cm) Polyphemus: 50 × 60 × 52 in. (127 × 152.4 × 132.1 cm) Galatea: 35 × 57 × 47 in. (88.9 × 144.8 × 119.4 cm)
Classification:
Chordophone-Zither-plucked-harpsichord
Credit Line:
The Crosby Brown Collection of Musical Instruments, 1889
Accession Number:
89.4.2929a–e
Not on view
This gilded case encloses an Italian harpsichord of typical design but unusual length. Decorated with a frieze depicting the Triumph of Galatea and supported by three Tritons, the harpsichord originally formed part of Michele Todini's Galeria Armonica and was described in his catalogue of 1676. The flanking figures of Polyphemus playing a bagpipe (Todini invented one like it) and Galatea, were displayed with the harpsichord in front of a "mountain" in which a small pipe organ was concealed. Todini designed several lavish mathematical and musical machines and charged admission from the aristocrats who visited his gallery. The artistic quality of the case ranks it among the finest examples of Roman Baroque decorative art; Todini's ingenuity and search for new forms of instrumental expressivity grew out of the same musical climate that led to the invention of the piano.
Mary Elizabeth Adams Brown (after 1902) ; Thatcher Magoun Adams (after ca. 1901) ; [ Weischaupt ] ; Vicomte de Sartiges (ca. 1864–ca. 1900) ; [ Monsignor Giovanni Antonio Sampieri before ca. 1860] ; Count Alessandro Zeloni (ca. 1858–1860) ; Petrarca (1825–ca.1858) ; [ Giovanni Vannetti purchased 1825] ; Carlo Alessandro de Vaux (after 1796) ; Virginia Verospi (1775–1796) ; Girolamo Verospi (1748-1775) ; Fabrizio Verospi (1700-1748) ; Giovanni Battista Verospi (1690-1700)
"Todini's Golden Harpsichord Revisited." Journal of the American Musical Instrument Society (2013), vol. 39.

Adriana Rizzo. "An Unfolding Tale: the Making and Transofrmation of the Decorative Elements of the Golden Harpsichord." Journal of the American Musical Instrument Society (2013), vol. 39.

Michael Snodin, Nigel Llewellyn, in Baroque: Style in the Age of Magnificence 1620-1800. Exhibition catalogue., The Board of Trustees of the Victoria and Albert Museum. London, 2009, pg. 104, fig. 2.32, ill.

Dottoressa Franca Falletti, Renato Meucci, Gabriele Rossi-Rognoni, in Marvels of Sound and Beauty: Italian Baroque Musical Instruments. Exhibition catalogue., Giunti Editore S.p.A.. Milan, 2007, pg. 37, 121-126, fig. 8, ill.

Ed. Dottoressa Franca Falletti, Renato Meucci, Gabriele Rossi-Rognoni. Meraviglie sonore: strumenti musicali del barocco italiano. Giunti Editore S.p.A.. Milan, 2007, pg. 37, 121-126, fig. 8, ill.

"Keyboard Instruments." Summer. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin (1989), Vol. 47, No. 1, pg. 20-21, ill.

"The Pianos of Bartolomeo Cristofori." Journal of the American Musical Instrument Society (1984), vol. X.

"The Crosby Brown Collection of Musical Instruments: Its Origin and Development." Metropolitan Museum Journal (1970), vol. 3, pg. 348, ill.

Musical Instruments of the Western World. McGraw Hill Book Company. New York, Toronto, 1967, pg. 158-159, fig. 57, ill.

Keyboard Instruments in The Metropolitan Museum of Art: A Picture Book. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1961, pg. 18-19, fig. 8, ill.

Catalogue of the Crosby Brown Collection of Musical Instruments: Historical Groups, Gallery 39. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1905, pg. 126.

Catalogue of the Crosby Brown Collection of Musical Instruments: Europe. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1904, vol. I, pg. 267.

Catalogue of Keyboard Instruments. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1903, pg. 83, ill.



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