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Da Vinci Code

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It’s nice to return from holidays and see that this thread is still alive.  :)

 

Although I was hoping that it will turn in other direction; towards Leonardo’s ability of playing lira (according to Vasari and Emanuel Winternitz), or his skill to construct one as Vasari wrote: 

“Leonardo was led in great repute to the Duke of Milan, who took much delight in the sound of lira, so that he might play it: and Leonardo brought with him that instrument which he made with his own hands, in great part of silver, in order that the harmony might be of greater volume and more sonorous in tone; with which he surpassed all the musicians who had come together there to play. Besides this, he was the best improviser in verse of his day.”

 

Who knows what really happened so many centuries ago, and if Leonardo’s lira, in a case all this was truth, derived from his sketch:

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post-60277-0-26095800-1440429887_thumb.jpg post-60277-0-98632800-1440429907_thumb.jpg post-60277-0-22850000-1440429924_thumb.jpg

post-60277-0-46676200-1440429938_thumb.jpg post-60277-0-50825100-1440429953_thumb.gif 

Anyway, thank you Ben for your informative insight into an Orpheus myth and disclosure of Duffin’s hypothesis. I agree with you 100%, there is not a single evidence for such thinking, despite I should not be so severe. After all, this is only presumption and to tell the truth Raimondi’s Orpheus looks indeed very old and there is some similarity with Leonardo, or even with Raimondi's self portrait. But of course this can’t be argument of any value.     

post-60277-0-68665200-1440429978_thumb.jpg post-60277-0-04890200-1440429996_thumb.jpg post-60277-0-40058700-1440430010_thumb.jpg 

 

BTW, looking at Raimondi’s Eurydice with all scrutiny, one could even notice some similarities with Gioconda, if only want so... :D   

post-60277-0-50732400-1440430033_thumb.jpg post-60277-0-92324600-1440430044_thumb.jpg

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Or Jesus! (as drawn by Leonardo around 1490) 

 

post-52750-0-13447000-1440433773_thumb.jpgpost-52750-0-77518600-1440436857_thumb.jpg

 

Or, who knows, maybe even Albrecht Durer, who specifically influenced Raimondi's engraving style, and who also liked to depict himself as consciously christ-like  - perhaps establishing a permissible imagery for painters emphasising their renaissance-minded role as serving the purpose of elevating the human soul...  (discuss...the subject is massive) 

 

post-52750-0-26852700-1440436717_thumb.jpg

 

 

The author is rather naughty, he quotes the first edition of Vasari' ​Lives from 1550 because it fits his description, and discounts the substantially enlarged second edition of 1568 which refers to the 1495 lira being made in the form of a horses skull. In fact, the second edition is the result of Vasari's own amendments to his own work, so is no more or less reliable than then first and covers a lot of good additional ground. I notice that in the footnoted version of this paper for the American Musicological Society, he dismisses the 1568 enlarged edition, writing rather astonishingly that "as a later insertion it seems less credible". This sounds like a scholarly commentary, but it goes against the general acceptance of the art history community that the 1568 enlarged edition is the better and more complete of the two. It also goes against proof that Leonardo was at least interested in lira taxidermy, substantiated by the drawing in his own hand of a lira made to look like it's from the skull of a mythical, carnivorous, horned, nevertheless horse-sized monster from the underworld? Whether this is the actual lira made to impress the Duke of Milan in 1495 is an endless argument, whether or not this was the only lira Leonardo played is probably a question whose answer we can take for granted as common sense. But it would be better to engage in these arguments rather than to bury them. A lucid and intelligent engagement with the evidence would not have diminished his argument at all, which is why I think his obfuscation of the facts is a really poor show - as also his selective quotation of the Kemp email. 

 

University professors spend their lives judging other peoples work by a set of academic standards, marking students down for not applying a certain rigour. I think it's only fair to call them out when they publish something that is highly opportunistic in order to enhance their personal reputation that falls desperately short of the standards they would apply to others in an undergraduate essay. I don't have any problem calling foul. Having been a university lecturer for some years, I would be unable to give this a basic pass if an undergraduate submitted it.

 

The 'scholarly' footnoted AMS version can be read here - it omits any reference to Kemp's email: http://musicologynow.ams-net.org/2015/06/leonardos-lira.html

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Or Jesus! (as drawn by Leonardo around 1490) 

 

attachicon.gifVinci,_Leonardo_Da_-_Christ_Figure_-_c._1490_-_1495.jpgattachicon.gifpost-60277-0-68665200-1440429978.jpg

 

Or, who knows, maybe even Albrecht Durer, who specifically influenced Raimondi's engraving style, and who also liked to depict himself as consciously christ-like  - perhaps establishing a permissible imagery for painters emphasising their renaissance-minded role as serving the purpose of elevating the human soul...  (discuss...the subject is massive) 

 

attachicon.gifDurer_selfporitrait.jpg

 

 

The author is rather naughty, he quotes the first edition of Vasari' ​Lives from 1550 because it fits his description, and discounts the substantially enlarged second edition of 1568 which refers to the 1495 lira being made in the form of a horses skull. In fact, the second edition is the result of Vasari's own amendments to his own work, so is no more or less reliable than then first and covers a lot of good additional ground. I notice that in the footnoted version of this paper for the American Musicological Society, he dismisses the 1568 enlarged edition, writing rather astonishingly that "as a later insertion it seems less credible". This sounds like a scholarly commentary, but it goes against the general acceptance of the art history community that the 1568 enlarged edition is the better and more complete of the two. It also goes against proof that Leonardo was at least interested in lira taxidermy, substantiated by the drawing in his own hand of a lira made to look like it's from the skull of a mythical, carnivorous, horned, nevertheless horse-sized monster from the underworld? Whether this is the actual lira made to impress the Duke of Milan in 1495 is an endless argument, whether or not this was the only lira Leonardo played is probably a question whose answer we can take for granted as common sense. But it would be better to engage in these arguments rather than to bury them. A lucid and intelligent engagement with the evidence would not have diminished his argument at all, which is why I think his obfuscation of the facts is a really poor show - as also his selective quotation of the Kemp email. 

 

University professors spend their lives judging other peoples work by a set of academic standards, marking students down for not applying a certain rigour. I think it's only fair to call them out when they publish something that is highly opportunistic in order to enhance their personal reputation that falls desperately short of the standards they would apply to others in an undergraduate essay. I don't have any problem calling foul. Having been a university lecturer for some years, I would be unable to give this a basic pass if an undergraduate submitted it.

 

The 'scholarly' footnoted AMS version can be read here - it omits any reference to Kemp's email: http://musicologynow.ams-net.org/2015/06/leonardos-lira.html

 

What other to expect when the curly long hair and Christ-like image was so popular in the age of Renaissance?  :) 

 

I was aware of Duffins paper for American Musicological Society, but have chosen to point out other link (in my post #20), written in more popular way, with a lot of images.

Far from being his advocate, I agree that issue about Leonardo lira is more important than spending of energy to discover whether he is depicted in the figure of Orpheus - which is anyway impossible to prove.

Questions like whether Leonardo really made a silver lira, or lira in the shape of horse skull, whether was he actually played on it, or how someone, if not Mongolian Tuvan can play this weird instrument at all, seems to be more important, but not less difficult to answer with certainty.

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I think in terms of his musicianship, Emmanuel Winternitz's book really has about the most anyone can say on him. Part of the problem is that he is such a big subject that I think its put off quite a lot of research in that area. It could potentially be updated. 

 

I don't see any reason to be cynical about the horse skull quote appearing in 1568 and not in 1550. Even in modern commentary the 1568 edition is referred to more commonly as the 'enlarged' as opposed to 'second' edition, and it seems that the response of Vasari's first edition was an outpouring of so much hitherto undisclosed knowledge that it made itself out of date by the same means that uncovered the information which demanded a new revised work. Nevertheless, there is a gap of more than 70 years between Leonardo's audience with the Duke of Milan and the eventual publication of the comment about the lira being a horse head. 

 

If we return to the drawing of the lira-of-sorts, I think there is some importance in it's obvious size, which corresponds more or less to the size of a horses skull, even though it's clearly a mythical and grotesque beast. Perhaps this is exactly the instrument made in 1494 - or perhaps following a proof-of-concept, he made or designed other instruments like it. It is entirely possible that an oral memory of this instrument could have confused the thing pictured with a horse-shape lira. 

 

Its worth revisiting the 1568 text. We see that it wasn't a horses skull, but made like one. I also think that the emphasis that the instrument was made with his hands which also appears in 1550 is a deeply significant assertion of authorship - especially in the context of Vasari's subject matter: 

 

quelle strumento ch’egli aveve di sua mano fabbricato d’argento gran parte in forme d’un teschio di callao, cosa bizarra et nuova, accioche l’armonia fosse con maggior tuba sonora di voce, lande supero tutti i musici die quivi erano concorsi a sonare

 
the instrument that he made himself, shaped like a horse’s skull and decorated with silver, something odd and novel, a sonorous instrument with a penetrating sound with which he excelled over all the other musicians gathered there. 

 

Whatever way, it seems that this was an extraordinary instrument, and I don't think it follows that all Leonardo played on was horse-shaped liras - given court customs of the time, he probably ended up forfeiting it to the Duke in order to reap his patronage. 

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Yes, but just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water......

 

The one I vote that looks most like Leo is this one. Of course Vasari never mentions Leonardo and the viola da mano does he? 

 

Of course it is preposterous to assume this is Leonardo plucking away, as we all know this is a portrait of Titian by Raimondi.  ;)

post-69241-0-30972400-1440455509_thumb.jpg

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I'm quite curious about these three for their consistency. 

 

What seems quite crass in the first Raimondo is the 2dimensionality of the neck, which has the same thickness as the ribs throughout - surely a lazy artist. But, the same proportions are found in the Orpheus & Eurydice engraving, although they are absolutely not the same instrument - one has c-bouts, the other not - the neck width tapers rather interestingly towards the body but out of proportion to the widening of the string band. 

 

This same characteristic is seen on the viola da mano (closest in form to the first Raimondi engraving), whose general proportions seem to be in keeping with the two liras. Is there enough to reflect a particular Florentine tradition of instrument making at that time? The painting of an unknown Lira da Braccio player relatively recently attributed to Lorenzo di Credi also in Florence seems to uphold (if only in crude generalisations) a specific Florentine style. Note also the large handle on the bow in the Ramondi, and the Credi - not identical by any stretch of the imagination, but certainly out of a similar ideology.

 

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I think that to this sequence of four can easily be added one more Orpheus with lira da braccio by Raimondi and also vielle (really is little difference between it and the lira da braccio) held by Green Angel on the painting by the painter from Leonardo's circle (most likely Francesco Napoletano, 1490-9).

 

post-60277-0-23350100-1440525660_thumb.jpg post-60277-0-05172700-1440513756_thumb.jpg

 

However, it seems that Leonardo had a special approach to the acoustical problems and the function of the resonant box, as befits the genius of his format. In design of silver lira, it seems like he almost anticipated piezoelectric violin. <_<  Not at all unusual, such a visionary mind surely knew what the future technology could bring to us... :D 

 

post-60277-0-36806100-1440513450_thumb.jpg http://www.italiamedievale.org/sito_acim/segnalazioni/lyra_adelchis.html

post-60277-0-59145300-1440513465_thumb.jpg http://www.fabiochiariliutaio.com/articles/articles_2.html 

Here is a link to interesting information about entertainment in the age of Leonardo: http://50yearsindance.com/2011/12/07/leonardo-da-vinci-musician-theatrical-designer-creator-of-masques-and-elaborate-festivities/

 

 

 

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I'm curious that Raimonidi seems never to have overhangs in his instruments. Even in Orpheus and Eurydice, you can get enough of a view of the side of the neck to show that there is no real transition from body to neck. Arguably, his instruments - in so far as you can interpret them - but consistency is interesting, seem to be made in the medieval style, with the neck, ribs and back all made from a single piece of wood. Not an observation I would willingly make on the back of 3 or 4 engravings, but comparing them to a wider context they fall in quite nicely. On all of them, there is no sense of a separate fingerboard extending over the body, with the required angle. Once again consistency between these suggests a familiarity with a certain kind of instrument rather than the laziness of the artist, though that is a possibility. However taking this medium of engraving as a direct response to the engravings of Albrecht Durer, and additionally looking at the small scale painted emulations of this form - Antonello de Messina's St Jerome in his study, for example, it is difficult to imagine that an ambitious engraver would be able to be lazy in any part of their composition or art. 

 

Although I'd suggest that the Credi lira's proportions (perhaps  1510-1530 ish) aren't wrong for this kind of thing, it is obviously made with separate ribs, and has seemingly by the vast shadow beneath it at the belly, an angled fingerboard made to be parallelish with the strings extending over the body in keeping with the high bridge on the instrument: Essentially it possesses everything in this respect of a modern violin, so is a quantum leap ahead of the instruments seem by Raimondi. The Giovanni d'Andrea Lira of 1511 made in Verona is contemporaneous, and proves the point, also being essentially of recognised violin setup. 

 

The Napolitano which indeed used to be heralded as a Leonardo is nevertheless significant to Leonardo's life, circle and influence. I think that in the pursuit of Leonardo's 'genius' we neglect to understand his first-hand guidance of the assistants who produced his ideas. It's insane to go to the Castello Sforza in Milan and be told that he painted the ceiling - which he really probably didn't, and then to go to the Brera museum and see all the fabulous Leonardo paintings that he didn't paint because they are by Bernado Luini, Andrea Solario, Giovanni Antonio Boltaffio or Napolitano... when frankly it was through the brushes of these painters that Leonardo's ideas were rendered into art when he was too useless to do it himself - 

 

Napolitano's lira isn't as advanced as that attributed to Credi, but it is interesting to see an awareness of a system of making that includes separate back, belly, and ribs, and a heightened fingerboard to counteract the height of the bridge. One element of great interest is the bridge, which has the appearance of a door hinge with legs splaying out at about 60 degrees backward and forward. Speaking with other people off Maestronet in the past, there has been quite a compelling argument that the bridge is made of metal - the filigree ornamentation of it is likewise closer to standard silversmithing practice of the time - slightly gothic, than what we expect from wood. 

 

Could it be that Leonardo's silversmithery was nothing more than swiping the hinge from a cupboard door or casket and using it as a bridge? Leading to a fashion for this idea amongst his Milanese circle? I certainly can't think of another relevant painting that shows similar practice. 

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It’s impressive how much logical conclusions can a knowledgeable observer detect from so limited inputs. Ben you have my deepest respect.

According to your opinion, was a Leonardo’s lira decorated with silver parts in a way close to lira by Fabio Chiari, with silver parts made by Orafo Lorenzo Mattafirri? I’ll presume, yes.    

 

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I enjoyed seeing how people chose to interpret the da Vinci lira. I don't think we can ever be clear about it, so given the sources we have, it provides an enchanting element of exploration. My guess is that so long as the result is fantastical and sounds well, it is probably in the same spirit that Leonardo intended. If he made a second one, he would have surely done different. 

 

Whilst joking a little about the only silver being a hinge knocked off a cupboard door, I think there is something interesting to the silver question, and maybe something more to be looked into. I'm aware, from 100 years later in 1607 how Claudio Monteverdi divides his musicians into two groups in Orfeo - the strings (and similar) represent the mortal world, whilst the rasping, harder sounding instruments such as crumhorns and regals are used to create the sounds of the underworld. Amongst these, the late medieval 'bray harp' is an interesting point of conversation, in which brass hooks touch against the strings to make a more underworldly sound. This seems to have had a more widespread use as it carried better, but the suitability for this role stands. 

 

There is an early 16th century treatise on natural philosophy which I am failing dismally to recall, in which there is a publication of a technical drawing of a kind of lira da braccio (or similar) containing an invention to enable it to play in both modes. The inventor even concedes that it is just an idea, and he had failed to make it work, but published it for the benefit of others who could improve upon the idea. It strikes me that this source (which I uselessly can't trace) is suggesting the kind of ideal that must have also appealed to anyone - including Leonardo - who wanted to recite Orphean legend. I can't really understand how silver would have improved the acoustic of an instrument, but I do wonder if the silver embellishments to the instrument enabled the sound to be changed, in order to create a memorably impressive instrument. Metalwork could very likely result in a bray-harp like sound. 

 

An idea like this would certainly also work well with the contradiction of the mythical grotesque lira drawn by Leonardo. That is certainly an instrument representative of the underworld, so producing a beautiful and sweet sound would be totally contradictory to it's image. 

 

Bray harps, so-called because they bray like a donkey seem to have been the dominant type of harp into the 16th century - Praetorius calls them the 'normal' type in 1619, and they go all the way back to the Golden Lyre of Ur, passing through ancient greeks and romans! Here's one from 1170, being played by a Donkey! (you can faintly see the brays have been drawn in)... 

 

post-52750-0-38716400-1440550065_thumb.jpg

 

Here's a wonderful video of one sounding particularly donkeyish! 

 

 

Returning to the Napolitano angel with the metal bridge, it's interesting to look at the possible instability of a triangular bridge like this, and how it could also create a buzz. I'd hope that this compares with the asymmetric bridge of the tromba marine, which will activate a similar buzzing sound when played above a certain velocity. Transferring that idea across, it would certainly make sense that the Napolitano lira could be evidence of an instrument that could play in over and underworld modes depending on bow pressure and velocity... listen here: 

 

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I can't get too deep into it at the moment as I'm bushed, but today whilst cleaning up after the infamous typhoon #16 which passed directly over my town early Tues.AM, I was thinking about Raimondi and the nature of engravings as iconographic sources. 

 

The soundbite version which I hope I can expound upon later ~ I question engravings, in particular, because it's tricky to know whether or not there were illustrative conventions in play in the 16th century that we may interpret as visual truths. Just because a neck looks fat or thick in an engraving was it really fat or in fact in reality gracile? 

 

I wonder if engravings are like illustrations in say the mid 20th century, where you can often find a stylized visual short hand for certain objects, like eyes or mouths or car tires? I'm too tired now to dig in and reason it out with examples; this interests me in how we interpret iconography and I wonder how much of this idea of visual conventions come into play in engravings due to the simple technical fact that the illustrator had to get a job done and getting too bogged down in fine detail would have slowed the printing deadline? 

 

So what I always ask myself when looking at engraving from this time period-  am I looking at a Gibson Girl or Doonesbury cartoon like graphic aesthetic from 1505? See the oil paintings of the time can show vivid detail and accuracy so much so that scientists like botanists or entomologists can use these paintings to identify plants in medical or use or insects of interest in the day. So we know these artists can depict with super accuracy when they need to. 

 

How do we gauge, collectively, the usefulness of an engravers way of visually compressing information to get across his-her idea of what things not only looked like, but how they could be drawn effectively and fast for people in that time period to understand. 

 

For example I see a thick neck on an instrument and I have to wonder, did the engraver do that because he wanted to get across an idea of 'neckness' that could not be confused with anything else in the picture? Regardless of whether or not it looks dimensionally 'real', does it read visually as neck? 

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OT -  Why are so many of the musicians naked?  They are obviously playing expensive instruments...so I'd imagine they can afford clothes.

 

And I don't recall, from my Art History, any mention of art trends of the time that might have required nakedness being portrayed.  On the other hand, I do remember a lecture about the importance of drawing drapery...

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Stephen, I agree completely with you. The dangers of iconography are absolutely massive, BUT I do enjoy joining the dots between several images by the same artist, or from a particular time and place to get a good reflection of trends. Occasionally, however, an instrument is so well depicted that you practically have a technical drawing with which to make a copy - all the elements agree with an instrument maker's practical experience. 

 

Very often, in allegorical paintings, anything from Orpheus's lyre to fantastical images may intentionally NOT be practical musical instruments at all. Potentially augmented in order to better reflect the strange and unheard of instruments of the angels, or of the ideas produced in Thomas More's praising of God in Utopia - suggesting that the divine, or those closer to it have means of making music that are closer to the divine than Renaissance mankind. Lorenzo Costa's allegory of Isabella D'Este seems to include highly embellished instruments. I am not sure what the long column is supposed to be, evidently musical though, but defies any imagination and its true function seems purposefully hidden by the posture of the musician. 

 

Nevertheless, in the crudeness of Raimondi's instruments, it is the consistency of features that resonates with me, and that I see them in other works. It's interesting to consider that everything that is wrong with the bowed instruments is 'right' for the viola da mano, and it's a hairs breadth away from surviving 16th century vihuelas. The possible result of a familiarity by the artist, or by the instrument maker with this style of craft. Meanwhile, the two Orpheus engravings do show fundamentally the same construction traits, engraved at two separate times. 

post-52750-0-18049000-1440600559_thumb.jpg

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With some rummaging, I've found the instrument which I think proves my idea of the two tonal instrument. It's the invention of Jaques Besson, published in Paris in 1571 and 1578 in his Theatrum Instrumentorum et machinorium - essentially a book of ideas very similar to the da Vinci codexes. 

 

See here: https://archive.org/details/Theatruminstrum00Bess

 

To paraphrase the latin, it talks about how 'metallic fingers' create a varied and tuneful melody in which the sound of the lyre, and the sound of the 'trumpet' relate to one and other. 

 

In other words, when pressure of the chin is applied to the tailpiece it releases the trumpet mechanism, but when no pressure is applied, the metal fingers buzz against the strings.

 

This may be a very advanced form of the ideas that emerged in 1494 with Leonardo and the Duke of Milan. Whether there is a direct connection between Besson's role in the court of Charles IX of France and Leonardo's in the court of Francis I remains to be seen, but there is a strong likelihood of his being influenced by Leonardo's codices and his legend at a time that he held essentially the same position in the French royal court. 

 

post-52750-0-32193200-1440601573_thumb.jpg

 

At a guess, a silver tailpiece and an attached silver mechanism of this scale, could plausibly be exactly what Vasari reported, and NOT silver within the resonating body of the instrument. 

 

Afterthought: It seems to be a precursor of Vuillaume's automatic mute. Benson was also promoting this lira idea completely contemporaneously to the Amati Charles IX commission. 

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At a guess, a silver tailpiece and an attached silver mechanism of this scale, could plausibly be exactly what Vasari reported, and NOT silver within the resonating body of the instrument. 

 

If this is not about Leonardo, one might think that he just wanted to impress a wealthy patron with his shining lira.  :D

 

Rue, Raimondi was well known thanks to the naked figures. He even spent the time in jail because of his erotic engravings.  :D

 

An apology for the bad jokes :(  but a very difficult day is behind me.

 

:)  Please, please continue to decode Da Vinci Code and/or similar issues…and Stephen, sorry for damage caused by typhoon.

 

P.S. Could that long column on Allegory of Isabella d’Este painting be some kind of tromba marina?

 

post-60277-0-52783700-1440616388_thumb.jpg post-60277-0-31356200-1440616405_thumb.jpg

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The dangers of iconography are absolutely massive, BUT I do enjoy joining the dots between several images by the same artist, or from a particular time and place to get a good reflection of trends. Occasionally, however, an instrument is so well depicted that you practically have a technical drawing with which to make a copy - all the elements agree with an instrument maker's practical experience.

 

 

post-60277-0-31451200-1440696145_thumb.jpg

 

Exactly this proves Hans Memling’s (ca.1440 – 1494) Angel Musicians from altarpiece of Santa Maria la Real in Najera painted ca.1480, at almost same time like Raimondi’s engravings or Napoletano’s Green Angel. I enjoy in your enjoying joining dots between several images and your thesis which come out from this game. Unfortunately I can’t contribute more than to ask you to continue to reveal good reflections of trends. As an incentive, perhaps can serve a view how have changed trough time the instrument in the Orpheus hands…     

 

post-60277-0-08057200-1440696356_thumb.jpg post-60277-0-41821700-1440696387_thumb.jpg post-60277-0-91813800-1440696403_thumb.jpg

 

Or perhaps an interpretation of Leonardo’s musical rebus…

 

 

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That was probably a bad choice of mine, I was trying to think of things that I have seen that are better - and somehow - probably just belligerence, I am not sure that the patently tromba marine like column is a tromba marine... but that might just be me being difficult. 

 

This Titian/Giorgione drawing from about 1515 is exactly what I am thinking of in terms of implausible, even impossible instruments...

 

post-52750-0-07703700-1440721088_thumb.jpg

 

 

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That was probably a bad choice of mine, I was trying to think of things that I have seen that are better - and somehow - probably just belligerence, I am not sure that the patently tromba marine like column is a tromba marine... but that might just be me being difficult. 

 

This Titian/Giorgione drawing from about 1515 is exactly what I am thinking of in terms of implausible, even impossible instruments...

 

post-52750-0-07703700-1440721088_thumb.jpg

 

 

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That was probably a bad choice of mine, I was trying to think of things that I have seen that are better - and somehow - probably just belligerence, I am not sure that the patently tromba marine like column is a tromba marine... but that might just be me being difficult. 

 

This Titian/Giorgione drawing from about 1515 is exactly what I am thinking of in terms of implausible, even impossible instruments...

 

attachicon.gif11930966_10153560220214723_8524970412866047997_o.jpg

It looks to me like there's about to be a surprised shriek, as the shepherdess sends that flute flying.... and Apollo or whoever had best be wearing a cup.  :lol:

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There's a lot of symbolism in this that becomes infinitely clearer when you look at Titian's work in series. But she seems to be spurning his love - Apollo and Daphne, perhaps, although the convention for Apollo, following Metamorphosis is as a hunter, not a musician in this case. But by this time Titian was deeply into the sexual metaphor of certain musical instruments - the recorder - so perhaps his use of a certain symbolic language holds here, especially if this was to be viewed in context of other mythical paintings. The problem here is that the sketch is definitely derived from Giorgione's Concert Champetre (in the Louvre) [of which there has been considerable debate if it is Giorgione, or Titians hand in his workshop].. as the meaning of that is also obscure, it makes an immediate reading of this more difficult. 

 

Titian was a musician, so the last painted we would expect to draw something incompetent. In this case everything about the instrument renders it useless for mortal music, suggesting perhaps that the gods had abilities that we on earth aren't so capable of. Either that, or he just wanted her to shoot his fingerboard. 

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If you click this link and back out a few clicks you will be looking at my area. 

 

South Kyushu. Look for Satsumasendai and Koshikijima ( island) in between these two points the Typhoon Goni passed down that alley and through dead center over Akune, where I live. 3 am the typhoon hit full force and then an hour later the center was directly over us and it was quiet. Then an hour later raging winds, bent trees, WHOOOOOHOOOO!

 

I get a bit of a kick out this when it happens, twice in one year Akune was a direct typhoon pass over. We have a strong modern house with a metal frame and I usually sleep through typhoons. But when one passes over us I get up and watch through a small window. The rest of the windows have storm shutters. 

 

Goni knocked Kyushu pretty good, but the southern island chain below Kyushu was hit real hard. I kind of get a thrill and I like the clean up work. Today I helped moved wind fall palm and cedar trees out of an irrigation canal with a tractor, chainsaws  and steel cables. It makes the local farmers think American's are not total dweebs when I represent the country 'can do' people. 

 

Usually these typhoons make a left turn and head into the Philippines where they can do real damage at full power and hurt families and kids. If you ever hear of bad times on the news of areas where these storms hit, please donate some money to poor areas effected, if you can, Indonesia, Philippines, Burma, you know. 

 

It's been on my mind as well as iconographic sources and da Vinci organs. 

 

And kudos to Ben for presenting that stunning drawing. Beautiful. 

 

 

https://www.google.co.jp/maps/place/Akune,+Kagoshima+Prefecture/@31.8659255,130.1486576,11z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x353fcb5adbb2d639:0x9c58c3280e21bb4c

post-69241-0-19745100-1440764870_thumb.jpg

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That was probably a bad choice of mine, I was trying to think of things that I have seen that are better - and somehow - probably just belligerence, I am not sure that the patently tromba marine like column is a tromba marine... but that might just be me being difficult. 

 

This Titian/Giorgione drawing from about 1515 is exactly what I am thinking of in terms of implausible, even impossible instruments...

 

attachicon.gif11930966_10153560220214723_8524970412866047997_o.jpg

 

No, not a bad choice at all. Your choice is always interesting and informative, in word excellent. I used a Memling’s Angels only as example how precisely instruments can be painted.

Regarding tromba marina, I am not sure either, but think it’s very close to be correct. The description you used – column – and Stephen’s first post about typhoon attack (too bad that happened to those unfortunate people) remind me on other, more dangerous kind of tromba marina. Then I went to Google and find some old illustrations of this odd instrument with even more oddly name. Hence my guess, right or wrong.      

 

post-60277-0-61757000-1440774431_thumb.jpg

 

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Titian was a musician, so the last painted we would expect to draw something incompetent. In this case everything about the instrument renders it useless for mortal music, suggesting perhaps that the gods had abilities that we on earth aren't so capable of. Either that, or he just wanted her to shoot his fingerboard. 

 

…implausible, even impossible instruments…

 

post-60277-0-18562900-1440775295_thumb.jpg post-60277-0-52747600-1440775327_thumb.jpg post-60277-0-37570100-1440775361_thumb.jpg

 

“Art is a lie that tells the truth” (Picasso)

We just have to find out what the truth is. (R.F.)  :)

 

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Hmm, I don't think Mattias Grunewald's Isenheim altarpiece is completely fantastical, you've made the same mistake as I did with the Lorenzo Costa allegory! 

 

One way or another, he does take the trouble to paint an instrument that (barring a few inaccuracies) essentially works. It's ridiculous,  - no question of it, but there is nothing wrong with it. 

 

I should also note, maybe, that the bowing position is plausible at the octave, perhaps suggesting a kind of instrument that works, like a tromba marine on the harmonic series. So my sense that the image is daft, and hence unlikely to ever have been made is independent of whether it works or not!

 

I think something as simple as the frescos of Gaudenzio Ferrara at S.Miracoli show the enormous range of unfamiliar instruments played by the angels, and for this, artistic license is likely to have played a part in the panoply of variations on a lira/violin theme. There are, on the other hand, unnecessarily complex or impossible instruments in other iconography. I can think of one or two, I just can't quite pin them down. 

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