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An Angel in Green with a Vielle

Photo credit: The National Gallery, London

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This angel was part of an elaborate painted and sculpted altarpiece made for the church for San Francesco Grande in Milan. The main image of the altarpiece was Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘The Virgin of the Rocks’, also in the National Gallery’s collection. This angel – playing a vielle, a type of fiddle – and its pair would have surrounded a sculpture of the Virgin Mary which stood above Leonardo’s image. We cannot be sure who painted it; it might be an artist called Francesco Napoletano, an admirer of Leonardo’s painting style who stepped in after the death of the artist from whom it was commissioned. Here he imitates Leonardo’s dramatic use of light and shadow and blurred contours, particularly in the angel’s face, creating the effect of soft, delicate features.

The National Gallery, London

London

Title

An Angel in Green with a Vielle

Date

about 1506

Medium

Oil on poplar

Measurements

H 116 x W 61 cm

Accession number

NG1661

Acquisition method

Bought, 1898

Work type

Painting

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The National Gallery, London

Trafalgar Square, London, Greater London WC2N 5DN England

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