With 430,000 inhabitants in 1800, Naples had become the third most populous European city after London and Paris. The excavation of the site of Pompeii in the eighteenth century gave a special prestige to the city. Its newly unearthed antiquities and frescoes led to a vogue of neoclassicism across the arts. Images of ancient Greek and Roman lyres inspired the creation of the lyre-guitar, an instrument on which Mauro Giuliani performed on various occasions in Naples--probably more for its visual effect than for audibility's sake.



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