Michele Antonio De Grandi – Carrara 1681

M. A. Grandi is known for his unusual musical sculptures: Carrara-marble guitars, violins, and flutes. Such marble is perfect for sculptures, but it is acoustically unsuitable for musical instruments. The Estense Gallery in Modena holds numerous exemplars by Grandi, including this unique and precious harpsichord that returned to its former seat after centuries and following its  having been found in the Roman art market. It is still uncertain whether the instrument has ever been played. It has, however, two 8’ stops and a functional keyboard, the wooden parts of which I restored. Traces of carbon black under the soundboard suggest that the instrument was intended to amaze the observer, who could admire the precious marble decorations of the case and soundboard against the candlelight coming from below.



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