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Panels for a Musical Instrument

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These three panels were originally part of an early keyboard instrument, or possibly a pair of instruments, and show scenes of music-making and drinking. Silenus gathering Grapes and Young Satyr gathering Grapes are probably from the inside of the lid, and would only have been seen when the instrument was open. Marsyas and Olympus may have also belonged to the lid of the keyboard or to some part of the instrument’s case.

They were painted by Annibale Carracci in the late 1590s, perhaps for Fulvio Orsini, classical scholar and librarian/curator to the powerful Farnese family in Rome. The designs for some of the figures are based on classical objects owned by the Farnese.

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