Orfeo incanta gli animali (Orpheus enchants the animals)

(1490-1500) - Florence, Uffizi
instrument: viola da mano (vihuela) | century: 15cent/3/late | catalogue nº: 15-363

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Creator anon

Medium Artwork: Drawing


City Bologna (Ferrara?) | Region Italy | Old kingdom Italy

Body Oval Strings Unclear Neck Medium Pegbox Scroll
Bridge Not visible Frets Yes Back Flat Pegs Lateral
Technique Plucked fingers

The detail shoiwn here is from an anonymous Italian drawing of Orpheus enchanting the animals. The instrument appers to be an unwaisted viola da mano. Its proportions are typical of the instrument and although it is not possible to judge with certainty from the reproduction, it appears to have six courses of strings. The way the body is drawn suggests that it is a flat-backed instrument. It looks large for a monxyl vihuela. It is impossible to say whether the sloping top of soundbox where it joins the body is just stylised drawing or whether it is an attampt to depict an instrument from a single piece of wood. The scrolled pegbox is characteristic of Italian instruments. The position of the right hand appears to be for playing thumb-out, although it could equally be a representation of plectrum technique although there is no plectrum visible.

Crayon drawing of Orpheus surrounded by subdued animals. Art historians sucha as Rossi Rognoni (rossi2012) suggest it to be the work of a Ferrarese-trained artist living in Bologna. Its date is supposed to be from the last decade of the fifteenth century, 1490-1500. The drawing is in the Uffizi in Florence, Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe. .