The Orlandini-Corsini harpsichord Painted... - Lot 14 - De Baecque et Associés

Lot 14
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40000 - 60000 EUR
The Orlandini-Corsini harpsichord Painted... - Lot 14 - De Baecque et Associés
The Orlandini-Corsini harpsichord Painted and gilded wooden harpsichord, the doors, flap, lid and sides decorated with historiated scenes on the theme of music, the reverse of the flap painted with the coat of arms of the Florentine Orlandini and Corsini families, the boxwood and amourette keyboard with four octaves (lower notes lowered by one note), the cypress inner case with double bridge and double nut (the parchment rosette probably brought back at a later date; minor accidents), with a score drawer under the keyboard, resting on a five-legged double baluster base topped with a frieze of gilded foliage. Italy, probably Florence, late 17th - early 18th century H. 93 cm - W. 197 cm - D. 84 cm PFD Minor accidents and restorations, notably to the feet. Provenance : Former collections of the Orlandini-Corsini families, Sale Paris, study Ribeyre, November 14, 15 2006, lot 343 (with provenance indication of a Bordeaux château). This harpsichord was restored in the 1980s by Anthony Sidey. Comparisons between harpsichord decorations and recorded painters of the same period are rare and often difficult to make. However, several attributions have been made to Italian painters such as Luca Giordano (1634-1705) and Sebastiano Ricci (1659-1734), notably for a fragment of a harpsichord lid preserved in the Musée du Louvre (inv. MI 866), but also Annibale Carracci (1560-1609) for a harpsichord lid in the National Gallery in London (inv. NG 94), and more recently for a lid attributed to Pietro Paolo Bonzi (1576-1736) in the Antoine Tarantino Gallery in Paris. The subjects of the decoration sometimes illustrate scenes on the theme of music. This is the case for the harpsichord in the Château de Beaulieu collection, but also for the harpsichord by Andreas II Ruckers (1607-1655) in the Musée de la Musique in Paris and the harpsichord by Jacob Stirnemann (1724-1790) in the Musée d'Art et d'Histoire in Geneva. The harpsichord probably remained the principal musical instrument in Europe until the end of the 18th century, its history perfectly summarized by Michel Brenet in his Dictionnaire pratique et historique de la musique in 1926: "For a period of almost three centuries, the harpsichord played a role of extreme importance in musical practice. Not only were all the works of virtuoso harpsichordists, from the middle of the 16th century until after the death of J.-S. Bach (1750) and Rameau (1764), destined for it (since the vogue for the clavichord and the hammered harpsichord only became established with Emanuel Bach and Mozart), but it also held, alongside the lute and theorbo at first, and then alone alongside the organ, the then essential job of basso continuo. Except, to a certain extent, in France, one could not conceive of performing chamber, concert, theatrical or even church music without the harpsichord. The Germans, in particular, were categorical on this point. The conductor sat at the harpsichord. It was around the harpsichord that the selected instruments of the "petit chœur" were grouped. Today, when the harpsichord is replaced by the piano in early music performances, the sound of the ensemble is distorted. The flaws that eventually led to the abandonment of the harpsichord - its dryness, its coldness, the near impossibility of obtaining nuances of intensity, apart from the echo effects resulting from the opposition of two keyboards - had contributed to the creation of a special style of composition, in which masterpieces were produced, for these flaws, which Couperin himself acknowledged in part, were, in his judgment, offset by as many advantages: "precision, sharpness, brilliance". No drawing could be treated or played as an accessory; the arrangement of the counterpoint parts, their number and complication, took the place of dynamic effects; the tenuous embroideries and ornaments wrapped around the main notes gave the illusion of sustained sounds. The wit and humor of the picturesque details occupied listeners who did not yet expect instrumental music to express deep sentimental content. The "harpsichord style" reached its apogee in the 18th century with Couperin and Rameau in France, Domenico Scarlatti in Italy, and Froberger, Kuhnau, Handel and Bach in Germany.
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