Angel playing vihuela. Fragment of the lost altarpiece of the Iglesia de Santa María, Tamarite de Litera (Huesca).

(1500/ca) - Location unknown. Work disappeared during Spanish Civil War.
vihuela de mano - 16cent/1/early - instrument 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

Bridge Obscured

Strings Unclear

Frets Yes

Neck Long

Back Flat

Pegbox R/Angled 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.

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.