Antonius Vinaccia (Italian, Naples active 1754–1781 Naples)
Spruce, tortoiseshell, mother-of-pearl, gold alloy, ivory, various other materials
Height: 23 in. (58.4 cm)
Width: 7 1/2 in. (191. cm)
Gift of Marie A. Main, 1899
Not on view
This extraordinary Neapolitan mandolin is one of the most decorative examples that exists. The bowlback is formed of twenty-three narrow molded strips of tortoiseshell with ivory spacers. The soundboard is lavishly decorated with inlaid mother-of-pearl and tortoiseshell. The round soundhole is surrounded by a broad band of tortoiseshell and pearl inlay. The fingerboard has thirteen gilt frets and inlaid mother-of-pearl blocks. The peghead is scalloped shaped and covered with tortoiseshell and mother-of-pearl with eight fiddle-style pegs inserted from behind. The mandolin has the stylistic features associated with the Neapolitan school including a slight bend in the soundboard at the bridge and eight strings in four double-courses tuned to the same pitches as a violin: E, A, D, G.
Marking: (on handwritten label) Antonius Vinaccia Fecit / Neapoli in Via Constanti / A . 1781 .
"Guitar Heroes: Legendary Craftsmen from Italy to New York." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin (2011), pg. 12, ill.
Catalogue of the Crosby Brown Collection of Musical Instruments: Europe. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1904, vol. I, pg. 36.
Catalogue of the Crosby Brown Collection of Musical Instruments of All Nations: I. Europe, Galleries 25 and 26, Central Cases of Galleries 27 and 28. Catalogue., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, vol. 13, pg. 36.