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Spinet

Date:
1540
Geography:
Venice, Italy
Medium:
Wood, parchment, ivory
Dimensions:
L. 145.4 cm (57 1/4 in.); W. 48.3 (19 in.)
Classification:
Chordophone-Zither-plucked-virginal
Credit Line:
Purchase, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, 1953
Accession Number:
53.6 a, b
  • Description

    This spinet was made for Eleonora della Rovere, duchess of Urbino, the daugher of Isabella d'Este. The motto inscribed above the keys means "I am rich in gold and rich in tone; if you lack goodness, leave me alone." On the back of this strip is written, "Ordered and made for Her Excellency the Duchess of Urbino in the year of our Salvation 1540 and paid 250 roman scudi." This beautifully preserved spinet bears elaborate decoration of certosina work, painting, carving, and intarsia. Dolphins appear in the inlay flanking the keyboard perhaps executed by a German craftsman, and mythological figures make up the carved keyboard brackets. Symmetrical traceries over the keyboard reflect the sound hole's delicate Gothic design.

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Inscription: 1. (at left of removable strip of frontboard)
    VENETIS RICCHO SON DORO v ET RICCHO SON DI SVONO
    2. (at right of removable tip of frontboard)
    NON MI SONAR SI TU NON HA BUONO M v D v XL
    3. (above carvings at sides of keyboard)
    left - VI v ; right - IES
    4. (on reverse of removable panel, written in ink)
    Ordinanza e Fatta per sua Eccelenza [la signora?] Duchesa D'Urbino L'anno di Nostra Salute 1540 i pagata 250 scudi Romani No. 50
    5. (Inscribed under keyframe)
    "+555 A di 12 de agosto Angello Micheli dimazo feci Lach...cadura de questosoni"

  • References

    "Keyboard Instruments." Summer. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin (1989), Vol. 47, No. 1, pg. 2-3, 14-15, ill.

    "Musical Instruments in The Metropolitan Museum." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin (1978), Vol. XXXV, No. 3, pg. 34-35, ill.

    Musical Instruments of the Western World. McGraw Hill Book Company. New York, Toronto, 1967, pg. 88-81, fig. 20, ill.

    Keyboard Instruments in The Metropolitan Museum of Art: A Picture Book. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1961, pg. 12-13, fig. 5, ill.



  • See also
    What
    Where
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
    MetPublications
503043:3

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