Angel playing vihuela, from Retablo della Porziuncola, Maestro di Castelsardo.

(1492after) - Cagliari, Sardinia, Pinacoteca Nazionale, inventory no D18
instrument: vihuela de mano | century: 15cent/3/late 16cent/1/early | catalogue nº: 15-324b

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Creator anon

Medium Artwork: Painting


City Cagliari, Sardinia | Region Italy | Old kingdom Aragon

Body Waisted Strings 6 strings Neck Long Pegbox Obscured
Bridge Fixed Frets Yes Back Flat Pegs Obscured
Technique Plucked fingers

Tempera and oil on wood with gold background. Dated after 1492. Size of remaining fragments 389 x 272 cm. The figure playing the vihuela is a male angel, and is one of six intrumentalists who probably flanked the central panel of the retablo. More information about the painting from accessed 25/03/2018

This vihuela is highly consistent with the other two painted by the Master of Castelsardo (15-301a, 15-360). The body is small with purfled edges and incurved waists, and both bouts of about the same width. It has a fixed bridge with the strings clearly tied to it, and a single soundhole with rosette centred at the widest point of the upper bout. The soundbox is decidedly shallow. The neck is curtailed and the pegbox is not shown. The instrument is being plucked close to the bridge with thumb and index fingers in the same plane, neither thumb-in nor thumb-out. The thickness and colour of the neck, the same as the ribs, could be evidence of monoxylic construction.

An excellent digital reproduction was available at Sardegna Digital Library but could not be found on return investigation on 25/03/2018.