Medium Artwork: Painting
City Tuili Region Italy Old kingdom Italy
Strings 6 strings
Technique Plucked fingers thumb out
From the Retablo of the church of San Pietro, Tuili, Sardinia. Oil on wood, 5.50 x 3.50 m. Painted by the Master of Castelsardo.The retablo was originally located in the presbytery. It was commissioned by Giovanni and Violante Santa Cruz, lords of Tuili, at the time of the church’s consecration on 7 May 1489 and was installed on 4 June 1500 (from https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chiesa_di_San_Pietro_(Tuili) -- accessed 25/03/2018). The central panel of the Retablo depicts the coronation of the Virgin, with the Virgin bearing Christ child is surrounded by four angel musicians playng shawm, harp, tambourine and vihuela.
Given the size of the retable, the portrait of the angel playing the vihuela is approx. 69 cm high. It is highly consistent with the other two vihuelists painted by the Master of Castelsardo (15-301a, 15-324b). The body is small with 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 rather shallow. The neck is long with a few frets visible and the neck/body join coinciding with what would be the 14th or 15th fret. The sickle-shaped peg box has 8 pegs, of which seven are visible. The instrument is being plucked close to the bridge with a thumb-out hand position (figüeta española). The thicknes and colour of the neck, which is the same as the ribs, could be evidence of monoxylic construction.