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Thread: Nature of instrument in 1845-1847 painting

  1. #1
    Registered User Jacqke's Avatar
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    Default Nature of instrument in 1845-1847 painting

    I read somewhere that the painter Vjekoslav Karas was in Rome when he created this painting. Online, the instrument is called a lute, but I believe that comes from either generalization or from the name "Rimljanka s lutnjom"; the last word looks like it ought to be lute. Actually the name translates to "Romance with lullabies." I call it mandolin, but it looks strange to me; that is a very deep bowl.

    Question for others: Is it a mandolin? A mandolin from Rome? Does it have obvious characteristics that brand it as coming from a particular regional tradition?

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  2. #2

    Default Re: Nature of instrument in 1845-1847 painting

    It looks like a mandolin, all right. A mandolin is a member of the lute family of instruments but it is more likely, that Karas did not know the difference between a lute and a mandolin. Is she holding a plectrum? I can't tell if she is but she probably was and that is not apparent in the painting but the position of her finger and thumb suggest there was one. I think the deep bowl is the artist's invention. Anyway, we know artists have licence and it was Oliver Cromwell who asked to be painted " warts and all". I would imagine that the artist might have been worried that having done so he was going to be relieved of his head or shipped off to the West Indies with many other victims of Cromwell.

  3. #3
    Registered User Jacqke's Avatar
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    Default Re: Nature of instrument in 1845-1847 painting

    Quote Originally Posted by NickR View Post
    It looks like a mandolin, all right. A mandolin is a member of the lute family of instruments but it is more likely, that Karas did not know the difference between a lute and a mandolin. Is she holding a plectrum? I can't tell if she is but she probably was and that is not apparent in the painting but the position of her finger and thumb suggest there was one. I think the deep bowl is the artist's invention. Anyway, we know artists have licence and it was Oliver Cromwell who asked to be painted " warts and all". I would imagine that the artist might have been worried that having done so he was going to be relieved of his head or shipped off to the West Indies with many other victims of Cromwell.
    I appreciate your looking. I wonder what a bowl that was actually that deep would sound like.

  4. #4
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Nature of instrument in 1845-1847 painting

    Many artists have a hard time accurately portraying instruments. Take a look at some paintings of violins. They often (not always) get the proportions wrong.
    Jim

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    Registered User Jacqke's Avatar
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    Default Re: Nature of instrument in 1845-1847 painting

    I think I first noticed this painting while looking at a video of Ugo Orlandi. It is sitting in the background while he plays. I now see it is the history museum in Zagreb, where the painting lives.


  7. #6
    Mandolin tragic Graham McDonald's Avatar
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    Default Re: Nature of instrument in 1845-1847 painting

    I think it is simply a mandolin, but as Jim suggests, with a somewhat inaccurate rendering of the bowl. It does look like what would have been an old-fashioned mandolin by the 1840s with the wooden pegs of an 18th century mandolin and the fingerboard flush with the soundboard. 18th century Roman mandolins tended to have trapezoidal scratchplates rather the lobed shape, more common on Neapolitan instruments. My book on the history of the mandolin will give a a more extensive explanation of the evolution of Italian mandolins if you are after such information.

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    Registered User Jacqke's Avatar
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    Default Re: Nature of instrument in 1845-1847 painting

    I am getting your book! It has been in my list. I've been pursuing old research. Perhaps now for something up to date!

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