The Lid Painting

The original lid painting

          The original lid painting was destroyed by the previous owner of the instrument when she threw the case and lid into a skip (dumpster) when she lived in Paris.  Attempts have been made to try to find the original case and lid painting but it seems as though they have disappeared without trace.  Fortunately the instrument was photographed with its original outer case and painting.  The image below shows the original lid painting:



          Dr Thomas Belz was able to identify this as the legend of Partenope, chained to a rock and rescued from the sea monster by Perseus (on the rock).  The painting of Perseus, however, is not original and must date from the period after the restoration by Hermann Seyffarth in Leipzig in 1904.  In this restoration the front of the outer case of the harpsichord was angled like a Viennese fortepiano, and the lid flap had to be split to accommodate this.



The painting used as the basis of the decoration of the inside of the new lid

          One of the finest paintings of the Andromeda legend is that painted by Jacopo Palma il Giovane in the Gemäldegalerie, Kassel.  This painting was therefore used as the basis for the new lid painting and is shown below.


Andromeda rescued by Perseus from the sea monster, c.1610

Jacopo Palma il Giovane (1544-1626)

Gemäldegalerie, Kassel (Inv. No. GK500).



           This painting, like the painting inside the lost original lid of this harpsichord, shows Andromeda being rescued from the sea monster by Perseus.  This scene was often used as an allegory of Naples:  it represents Naples (the beautiful Andromeda) being rescued by Spain (the handsome Perseus) from the Papal States (the ugly and vicious sea monster)!


 Click here to see details of the finished lid painting


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