Angel playing vihuela. Fragment of a lost altarpiece

(1500 ca.) - Formerly Iglesia de Santa María, Tamarite de Litera (Huesca).
instrument: vihuela de mano | century: 16cent/1/early | catalogue nº: 16-109

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Creator Ximénez, Miguel

Medium Artwork: Painting


City Tamarite de Litera (Huesca Aragon) | Region Huesca | Old kingdom Aragon

Body Corners Strings Unclear Neck Long Pegbox R/Angled flat
Bridge Obscured Frets Yes Back Flat Pegs Unclear
Technique Plucked plectrum

Wood panel. Fragment of the altarpiece of Iglesia de Santa María, parish church, Tamarite de Litera (Huesca), formerly a collegiate church. The altarpiece was commissioned in 1500 and completed in 1503. The commission was to Miguel Ximénez and his son Juan. The vihuela player is painted in the company of two other angels playing wind instruments, a shawm and a trumpet. A pre-1936 painting shows the entire Nativity panel with the three musicians at the top of the painting in the centre, looking down on the newborn Christ child. The present location of the work is unknown after disappearing during Spanish Civil War.

Body: cornered waists approx. Round soundhole in centre of body. Narrow fixed bridge close to lower end of the instrument. Long, narrow neck that appears to have frets. Return, flat pegbox. A crack in the wood panel at the player’s right hand makes it difficult to determine the playing technique precisely, although it appears to be played with a plectrum, and is perhaps a vihuela de péñola.

The image here is credited in older sources (before 2000) as being from the Archivo Mas, the collection of Adolfo ás Ginesta (1860-1936) The Archivo Mas is now housed in the Fundaciò Instituto Amatller d’Art Hispanic in Barcelona.