In the first part of this article (Chanter, Summer 2015) I wrote about the discovery of a painting, dated 1640, attributed to Carlo Francesco Nuvolone. The painting depicts Manfredo Settala (1600-1680) with his “sourdeline”, a complex Italian bagpipe of the 17th century (fig. 1). This important painting reveals several facts about the personality of the ingenious scholar of Milan. In this second part we will look at the technical knowledge that we can gain about the sourdeline, and its place in the European family of wind instruments from the 17th and 18th centuries.Read more »
Biblioteca Ambrosiana, Milan. Cortile degli spiriti magni. If there is one place I love above all in Italy, it is the Biblioteca Ambrosiana in Milan. People come from around the world for the famous paintings of Leonardo, Caravaggio and Boticelli, but also for the strange and fascinating wonders gathered in this venerable house which was established by Cardinal Borromeo in 1611. Here there is a shrine enclosing a lock of blond hair from the beautiful Lucrezia Borgia as well as shells, beads and curious objects : this museum keeps the spirit of the «cabinets of curiosity» (or wunderkammer) of the Renaissance.Read more »
If you have the opportunity to travel to Aix-en-Provence do not miss the chance to admire the magnificent painting “Portrait de Gaspard Gueidan en joueur de musette”, exhibited at the Granet Museum in the old Provençal capital. This painting is well known to all bagpipe lovers, almost as much as the portrait of “Langlois playing musette” by Van Dyck, which is in London. I have been visiting Provence since my childhood where I have family connections, and I have lived there for 20 years: but no trace of a popular bagpipe tradition has ever been reported to me, except of course the zampognari of Lazzio who came to play for Christmas.Read more »
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