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Angel playing lute. From, Virgin and Four Angels, c.1470. Tempera on wood.

(1470) - Barcelona, Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya. Inventory number 015817-000
lute - 15cent/2/mid - instrument 15-354b

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Artwork

Creator García de Benavarre, Pedro

Medium Artwork: Painting

Location

City Barcelona Region Catalonia Old kingdom Aragon

Characteristics

Body Lute

Bridge Obscured

Strings 5 courses

Frets Yes

Neck Short

Back Vaulted

Pegbox R/Angled channels

Pegs Unclear

Technique Plucked plectrum

Commentary

ARTWORK
The on-line catalogue of the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya suggests that this painting may have been the central compartment of an altarpiece dedicated to the Virgin, and affirms it as one of Pedro García de Benabarre's most successful works. The composition is centered by the enthroned image of the Virgin and Child, surrounded by two musician angels and a further two angelic beings who offer them grapes and pears, fruit that alludes to the blood and sacrifice of Christ on the Cross (grapes) and to hope of Salvation (pears). The legend at the foot of the Virgin's seat reads: PERE GARCIA DE BENAVARRE MA PINTAT ANY 14. The absence of the date in which the work was executed has led to several hypotheses: while most scholars contend that it was painted around 1470, others tend to date it from before the painter's move to Barcelona. See: http://www.museunacional.cat/en/colleccio/virgin-and-angels/pere-garcia-de-benavarri/015817-000

INSTRUMENT
This angel, on the right of the painting is one of two angel lutenists depicted. The instrument is being plucked with a plectrum and is painted in considerable detail. This one is shown in full. It seems that both lutes are copied from the same model or exemplar. As with the other depicted instrument, the stringing appears to be 5 courses (4x2+1x1)

Reproductions

http://www.museunacional.cat/sites/default/files/015817-000.JPG

Bibliography