Renato Meucci - Musical Instruments in Italian Renaissance Courts

February 19, 2013

The Power of Luxury: Art and Culture at the Italian Courts in Machiavelli’s Lifetime
The Australian Institute of Art History
The University of Melbourne
19 and 20 February, 2013

Session Two - The Decorative Arts at Court
Tuesday 19 February 4.30 pm

Renato Meucci
Musical Instruments in the Italian Renaissance Courts

Collecting musical instruments was a common attitude among Italian Renaissance wealthy families. It was motivated, on the one hand, by the aim of supplying house musicians with an efficient equipment, while on the other it was frequently a means to show the collector’s refined and exclusive taste. Among the most renowned collections there were those of the d'Este, Sforza and Medici families. According to Bottrigari, Isabella d' Este's nephew Alfonso II kept his collection in two great chambers where his musicians played; the instruments were arranged by category, and separated according to whether they were played or ‘different from those … usually made today’. Less known is, however, that the Borgias, the most influential Aragonese family in Italy, went to the point of promoting one instrument, the vihuela, as a symbol of themselves and of their power.

Not posted at source


Renato Meucci was born in 1958, studied guitar and horn at the conservatories of Rome and Milan and classical philology at the University of Rome. After working as a free-lance horn player for some ten years, he turned to musicology and published papers on history, archaeology, iconography, performance practice, and musical instruments in books and journals in Italy, Switzerland, Germany, England, Austria, France, and the United States. He is also the author of Strumentaio, a unique book on the history of musical instrument making in the Western tradition (2nd ed., Venice: 2010). Meucci has been teaching History of musical instruments as invited professor at the University of Parma (1994-2000) and Milan (2001-present) and, as full professor, Music history at the conservatory “G. Cantelli” of Novara, where he has assumed the position of dean in 2011. The American Musical Instrument Society has presented him with the Curt Sachs Award 2012, the most distinguished international recognition in organological scholarship.

nb. Entry created May 4 2013. Dated to Feb 19 (date of presentation) for indexing purposes


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