Musical Instruments in the Palazzo dei Musei
The Estense Gallery, for instance, exhibits such unique examples as the “Este Harp,” commissioned by Duke Alfonso II from a Roman harp builder and made of maple, pear, and pine wood.
Credit for the presence of these splendid pieces goes to Francesco II of the House of Este. A lover of all the arts, the Duke was also deeply interested in curious and bizarre objects. As a result, beginning in 1686, be began to assemble musical instruments made partly of marble and partly of wood that were commissioned more for their beauty than for practical use. What remains of that collection is housed in the Estense Gallery, and three instruments inlaid with Carrara marble (a flute, a guitar, and a harpsichord), along with a violin and a cello with wood inlays, are of particular interest.
The Modena Municipal Art Museum (part of the Modena Municipal Museums) houses Gennaro Fabbricatore’s lyre-guitar in wood, brass, and bronze; a rectangular, single-keyboard spinet harpsichord that dates to between the 16th and 17th centuries; Pietro Termanini’s 18th-century wooden harpsichord; a late-18th-century serpent (a bass wind instrument) in wood, leather, and brass; and Antonio Apparuti’s B♭ brass horn.