Music, antiquity and self-fashioning in the Accademia dei Lincei

Barker, Naomi J. (2015). Music, antiquity and self-fashioning in the Accademia dei Lincei. The Seventeenth Century, 30(4) pp. 375–390.



The members of the Accademia dei Lincei are known chiefly for their achievements in early modern science, most notably supporting and funding Galileo’s projects. Their investigations of the natural world using both microscope and telescope were ground breaking, but potentially heretical. This article investigates aspects of their interest in the music of antiquity and its place in early modern Rome and Naples, presenting Fabio Colonna’s book La Sambuca lincea as a case study. The timing of the Lincean musical activities is juxtaposed with other significant events such as the injunctions against Galileo, throwing into relief some curious coincidences. The antique on the one hand evoked classical authority and was afforded due reverence, but could on the other, also provide the means of fashioning an outward identity different from internal intent. It will be suggested that elements of this antiquarian heritage are reflected in the patronage and cultural politics of the Accademia dei Lincei, whose participation in musica erudita, as evidenced in the work of Colonna, may have been part of a tacit display of corporate self-fashioning.

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