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Clavicytherium (clavecin vertical)

probably German

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.

Date:mid-18th century


Culture:probably German

Medium:Wood, various materials

Dimensions:H.: 212.2 cm (83-1/2 in.) + stand 62.2 cm (24-1/2 in.) = 274.4 cm (108 in.) total height; W.: 95.5 cm (37-5/8 in.) Stand 102 cm (40-1/4 in.); D.: 48 cm (19 in.) Stand 51 cm (20-1/8 in.)


Credit Line:Gift of Helen C. Lanier, 1981

Metropolitan Museum of Art – New York