Wednesday 30 January 2008

Lutes 'n' Angels

While very belatedly sorting out the Christmas cards - checking for changes of address, births, marriages and deaths, etc before sending them off for recycling – it struck me (not terrifically forcefully, since it’s a very banal observation really) that angels and lutes seem to go together like, well, Father Christmas and reindeer, robins and snow . . .

By coincidence, I was listening at the time to some lute sonatas by Leopold Silvius Weiss, played (divinely) by Robert Barto, which may have had something to do with it. Some members of the Angelic Host seem to favour sackbuts, recorders and viols, of course, but from my brief survey of 2007 Christmas cards, I’d say lutes seem to be very much the instrument of choice for angels and cherubs alike (oh and a few mortals as well - I had noticed that some of those featured below are lacking in the wing department).

In fact, it appears that the lute is one of the best-represented instruments in Renaissance art and beyond, as witnessed by the Lute of the Month pages on luthier David Van Edwards's amazingly comprehensive website, which contains a wealth of background information on all the paintings he's selected, as well as just about everything one might ever need to know about lutes.

1 comment:

monix said...

Gorgeous pictures, J. You've set me off on a new distraction now!

I think that the lute players without wings are the real angels, the others are just artistic impressions. I mean to say, those feathered protrusions would seriously get in the way in a choir of angels, wouldn't they?