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Panel

  • Place of origin:

    Spain (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1400 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Wood (probably pine) with polychrome decoration in tempera

  • Museum number:

    215-1894

  • Gallery location:

    Medieval & Renaissance, Room 10a, The Françoise and Georges Selz Gallery, case WS, shelf EXP

This panel formed part of a ceiling of a house in Catalonia, Spain, and would originally have been placed in one of the recesses between large supporting beams which spanned the room. Ceilings with painted beams and flat recesses made up of painted panels were more characteristic of Christian than Moorish buildings in the period between 1300 and 1500, but the decoration of this particular panel nevertheless shows signs of Islamic influence, which survived in Spain until well after 1500.

Physical description

Pine panel, painted in tempera, depicting a crowned white lion passant, with heavily striated ribs and limbs, amid yellow scroll paterns and flowers, on a red background, framed by an outer black border and white inner border.

Place of Origin

Spain (made)

Date

ca. 1400 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Wood (probably pine) with polychrome decoration in tempera

Dimensions

Height: 15 cm, Width: 28.8 cm, Depth: 2 cm

Object history note

Bought with nine other panels (Museum Nos: 207 to 216 - 1894) from M. Stanislas Baron, Rue Grange-Batelière 28 (Paris) for £0. 8s.
"Panel from a wooden ceiling, painted in black, white and yellow tempera colours on a red ground with a lion passant amid scrolling stems with leaves and flowers. Painted by Moorish artists for the Spaniards. Hispano-Moresque; 15th century."

Historical significance: Ceilings with painted beams and panels are more often associated with Christian Spain, and this included Catalonia, whose coats of arms are emblazoned on No. 216-1894 of this set. Nevertheless, this panel is an interesting example of Middle Eastern influences, particularly noticeable in the treatment of the lion and the scroll patterns. Although somewhat crudely executed, it is a good example of the Islamic style of decoration found in interiors of houses even in the predominantly Christian parts of Spain.

Historical context note

Ceilings in Christian Spain, during the Middle ages, were often supported by large, decoratively painted beams with painted panels like this example recessed between them. Examples include the ceiling over the cloister of the Monastery of Santo Domingo de Silos, south of Burgos, and the one over the Chapel of Santa Agüeda in Barcelona. Just as complex geometrical ceilings, supported by box-core pendants and inscribed with Arabic calligraphy, were characteristic of Moorish buildings, those with painted beams and panels were more often owned by Christians, and found in larger and more important rooms.

Descriptive line

Of wood (probably pine) with polychrome decoration in tempera, including a lion

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Arthur Byne and Mildred Stapley: Decorated wooden ceilings in Spain. (New York and London, G.P.Putnam & Sons, 1920).
V & A, Nominal File, Baron, Stanislas (MA/1/B494).

Materials

Pine; Tempera; Paint

Techniques

Painted; Planed; Sawing

Subjects depicted

Lion; Scrolls; Flowers

Categories

Architectural fittings

Collection

Furniture and Woodwork Collection

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