Angel playing vihuela. Anonymous.

(1551) - Salamanca: Claustro de Reyes at the Convento de S. Esteban.
instrument: vihuela de mano | century: 16cent/2/mid | catalogue nº: 16-207

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Medium Artwork: Sculpture


City Salamanca | Region Castilla-León | Old kingdom Castile

Body Waisted Strings Unclear Neck Long Pegbox Flat leaf
Bridge Fixed Frets Unclear Back Flat Pegs Unclear
Technique Plucked fingers thumb out

This stone carving of an Angel playing a vihuela is located above the Portada de San Gregorio Magno, a doorway in the south-eastern corner of the Claustro de Reyes at the Convento de S. Esteban in Salamanca, and dates from 1551. The sculptor is unknown. There has been speculation to associate the sculpture with Juan Moreno and Alonso Sardiña but these are the seventeenth-century architects who built the sacristy.

This instrument was first presented by Alexander Bellow in 1970, describing it as a 5-course guitar (bellow1970, 79, plate 47). Even with the more recent photograph shown here, there is insufficient detail to confirm the number of strings. The vihuela has a small well-proportioned body, a long neck that would correspond to the neck-body join at about the 14th fret. The angel’s right hand appears more to be supporting the instrument rather than playing it, and the left-hand position does appears to be only a symbolic representation.