National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of Angel with Symphonia Possibly Pisan 14th Century
Pisan 14th Century (sculptor)
Angel with Symphonia, c. 1360
marble
overall: 53.8 x 21.5 x 17.8 cm (21 3/16 x 8 7/16 x 7 in.)
Samuel H. Kress Collection
1960.5.14
On View
From the Tour: Italian Altarpieces and Religious Sculpture of the 1300s
Object 7 of 8

Angel with Symphonia (shown here) and Angel with Tambourine, with their slight Gothic sway, pudgy faces, and abundant draperies may once have belonged to a larger group of angels whose other members are lost. Their instruments are of interest for the history of music. The symphonia, an early form of hurdy-gurdy, and the tambourine or timbrel with rattles would “Make a joyful noise unto God” (Psalms 66 and 150).

Such figures, carved in the round, might have stood on top of the pinnacles of a complex Gothic monument whose central image would have represented Christ, the Virgin, or both. Since both angels look to their right, they must have been placed on the same side of the main subject. The notable differences in their faces, movements, and drapery styles suggest more than one hand was involved in their creation.

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