Artibus et Historiae no. 74 (XXXVII)

2016, ISSN 0391-9064

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CLAUDIO SECCARONI - A Discordant Note. An Alteration Made by Annibale Carracci in his Paintings in the Galleria Farnese Betrayed by the Incorrect Posture of the Musician (pp. 223–226)

In the Triumph of Bacchus and Ariadne painted by Annibale Carracci on the vault of the Farnese Gallery, the faun beside Silenus is playing the white cornet, but with an incorrect posture. Examining the preparatory drawings for the figure it is clear that initially, Annibale chose a double aulos as the instrument (see, for example, in the preliminary study in the Albertina, Vienna, inv. 23370).  In a further drawing for the faun in the Louvre, Paris (inv. 7316), the aulos has already been changed into the cornet, but it is evident that the model was not in fact holding the instrument correctly, and that it was only added as a casual element in order to complete the study. The alteration was probably due to the intention to substitute what had been an antiquarian choice (the aulos), with the most fashionable musical instrument of the sixteenth century (the cornet), but the artist failed to adapt the figure to the pose appropriate for playing that instrument.

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