Iconography

Barberini Harp Project / Interviews
Marzia Faetti: Two Souls of a Harp

This edition of the Barberini Harp Project Interviews brought Harfenlabor in 2019 to Marzia Faetti, the then director of the Gabinetto dei Disegni e delle Stampe at Le Gallerie degli Uffizi, Firenze. Faetti provides invaluable art historical context for music iconography within the graphic art of the 16th and 17th century preserved at the Uffizi. Faetti’s analysis of a preparatory drawing, often attributed to Giovanni Batista Soria, for a richly decorated harp with an unusually sumptuously decorated column, offers a fascinating insight into the aesthetic, musical, political, ceremonial and economic importance of such an instrument.

November 7, 2021
Read more
Elisabetta Frullini

“Venere che sona d’arpa e due amori”: Marco Marazzoli at the Barberini Court

This article focuses on a painting by Giovanni Lanfranco that is today on display at the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica di Palazzo Barberini, depicting a harp very similar to the one usually referred to as the Barberini Harp, today at the Museo degli Strumenti Musicali in Roma. It had long been thought that the Barberini family commissioned the painter Giovanni Lanfranco to produce the painting, until it was discovered that it had, in fact, been bequeathed to Antonio Barberini by the famous harpist, composer and singer Marco Marazzoli. This article intends to, first of all, provide insights into the painting with particular regard to the representation of the harp, and to offer a more precise consideration as to when this painting was created. Later, we intend to analyse the painting inside Marazzoli's home by relating it to other paintings exhibited there.

November 2, 2021
Read more

Barberini Harp Project / Convening
What We Know, and What We still Do Not Understand about the Barberini Harp

Harfenlabor invited the historical harpist and researcher Chiara Granata and renowned luthier Dario Pontiggia to share and present their discoveries, findings and analysis related to new facts about the Barberini Harp that had recently come to light. Granata and Pontiggia collaborated on the analysis of these new documents on the Barberini Harp through the perspective of organology, and published the outcomes of this research in 2015, in the Recercare journal.

October 31, 2021
Read more
Volker Haag, Valentina Zemke

The Barberini Harp Wood Species Identification

The team from the Thünen-Institut, Institut für Holzforschung transported comprehensive microscopy equipment from Hamburg to Roma for this investigation. At the heart of this equipment is a state-of-the-art 3D-RLM (3D-reflected-light microscopy) microscope. This advanced technology enables a completely non-destructive material analysis that allows identification of the types of wood that the harp was built of. The scientists’ repertoire of tools also includes a custom computer with specialist image analysis software, as well as various eyepieces and stands for different applications.

October 28, 2021
Read more
Ursula Verena Fischer Pace

Designs for Musical Instruments

There is an abundance of paintings with representations of concerts, musicians, and musical instruments in the 17th century Italian and Flemish painting. Musical instruments depicted in these paintings often correspond precisely to instruments owned by the paintings’ patrons. Some painters also enjoyed playing music and even built musical instruments themselves. Domenichino, for example, was also a builder and designer of sophisticated musical instruments. His deep knowledge in this area is reflected in the representations of musical instruments in his paintings, such as the meticulously depicted harp in the painting Il re Davide che suona l’arpa.

October 27, 2021
Read more