Made by Hans Ruckers the Elder / Double Virginal / 1581Made by Hans Ruckers the Elder
Double Virginal

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Creator Name: Ruckers, Hans
Creator Role: Maker
Creator Name-CRT: Made by Hans Ruckers the Elder
Title: Double Virginal
Title Type: Object name
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 1581
Creation End Date: 1581
Creation Date: 1581
Object Type: Decorative Arts and Utilitarian Objects
Classification Term: Chordophone/plucked/keyboard
Materials and Techniques: CRG
Dimensions: 19 1/2 x 71 3/4 in. (49.5 x 182.2 cm)
AMICA Contributor: The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Owner Location: New York, New York, USA
ID Number: 29.90
Credit Line: Gift of B. H. Homan, 1929

The double virginal was popular in Antwerp in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. It consists of a large virginal ("the mother"), with its keyboard placed off-center, and a small virginal ("the child"), tuned an octave above that of the large instrument and stored in the space next to its keyboard. Either instrument may be played by itself or the small virginal may be placed on top of the larger one. When this is done, the keys of the small virginal are activated when those of the large one are played, thereby causing both instruments to sound at once. This double virginal is the earliest secure work of Hans Ruckers, who founded a dynasty that dominated Flemish harpsichord building for one hundred years and whose instruments profoundly influenced all North European harpsichord building in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The gilded medallions over the keyboard of the large instrument show King Philip II of Spain and his fourth wife, Anne of Austria. The instrument was discovered in the chapel of a country estate near Cuzco in Peru.

AMICA ID: MMA_.29.90
AMICA Library Year: 2000
Media Metadata Rights: Copyright The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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