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Orfeo incanta gli animali (Orpheus enchants the animals)

(1490-1500) - Florence, Uffizi
viola da mano (vihuela) - 15cent/3/late - instrument 15-363

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Artwork

Creator anon

Medium Artwork: Drawing

Location

City Bologna (Ferrara?) Region Italy Old kingdom Italy

Characteristics

Body Oval

Bridge Not visible

Strings Unclear

Frets Yes

Neck Medium

Back Flat

Pegbox Scroll

Pegs Lateral

Technique Plucked fingers

Commentary

INSTRUMENT
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.

ARTWORK
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. .

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