clavicytherium

Sainte Cécile. Photographer Baron Adolph de Meyer. Photogravure. Troisième Exposition d'Art Photographique (1896).


This early religious study portrait by Baron de Meyer depicts a young woman (with halo etched in plate) playing a musical instrument, possibly a clavicytherium (upright harpsichord). The title makes reference to Saint Cécile, who was the patron saint of music and singers.

Clavicytherium

Date: mid-18th century Geography: Germany? Medium: Wood, various materials Clavicytheria, or upright harpsichords, were made as early as the 15th century, but tall examples such as this date from the late Baroque era. Having 2 sets of doors that conceal the strings, the case appears ungainly when open, but when closed it has a graceful outline embellished by gilded “wings” and stops control 2 sets of strings. The MET