1364 - 1367
Artwork nr. 15 — Hall 04 — 3rd floor
This is a youthful work by Bartolo di Fredi, a Sienese artist who can be identified with the early stages of the international Gothic style: the Triptych was painted between 1364 and 1367 for the church of San Simone del Carmine in Perugia. Bartolo’s eccentricity is expressed in his revival of archaically-inclined forms, oblivious of the sense of space, combined with unusual experiments with colour. Fond of the descriptiveness of details, especially of the more unusual of them, the artist inserts a splendid of the oud, plucked by the angel on the left. The oud was a musical instrument of Arabian origins that was used extensively in that period to accompany vocal compositions
Music: The oud, the precursor of the lute
The oud is still, today, the sultan of Arabic music and commonplace from Morocco to Turkey, Egypt to Iraq, Syria to Iran.
Oud, al oud, laud, lute... this is the instrument which Bartolo di Fredi’s angel musicians are holding.
The 1348 plague and its artistic fallout
In Italian art history, then, if the black plague represented, on one hand, a restless stylistic search begun with Giotto, on the other it probably fostered the international Gothic turnabout which juxtaposed love of life - of luxury, of decorative rendering of detail - to fear of death... breathing life into that aesthetic taste which, after a century of relative crisis, led to the birth of the Renaissance.
Bartolo di Fredi and painted music
The Carmine Triptych was painted by Sienese Bartolo di Fredi in 1364, sixteen years after the terrible plague of 1348, a plague which killed off more than a third of the European population. Bartolo di Fredi’s painting shows some archaic traits and takes little interest in space considerations but Bartolo di Fredi was an adaptable painter, capable of unusual colour combinations, great attention to detail and a preference for exotic shaped objects.
Hunting one day