Lute (alto)

approx. 1580, Manufacturer: Georg Gerle



Lute (alto)

The ivory lute from the Ambras Kunst und Wunderkammer shows Georg Gerle (1520-1591) to be a lute maker of the highest calibre. Only the belly, responsible for the timbre of the instrument, is made of spruce. It is adorned with a delicately carved rosette. The other parts of the instrument are made of ivory or are veneered with strips of this precious material. The technically most ambitious part of the lute is the shell made of strips of ivory. These were curved under heat and glued together over a mould. Dark strips of wood between the ribs create a contrast in colour. On the inside of the instrument thin strips of parchment secure the glue joints. The stringing of the instrument conforms to the Renaissance standard arrangement of five double courses and one single string. (rh)

Lit.: Rudolf Hopfner: Masterpieces from the Collection of Historic Musical Instruments. A Short Guide through the Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, Vol. 1, Vienna 2019

Location: Neue Burg, Sammlung alter Musikinstrumente Saal 10

Object data

Object Name

Lute (alto)


Austria, Innsbruck


approx. 1580


Georg Gerle (ca. 1520 Immenthal - 1591 Innsbruck) - GND

Dimensions Cover size is a museum or exhibition-specific information. It does not specify the real dimensions of the musical instrument.

900 mm x 310 mm x 150 mm

Image rights

Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, Sammlung alter Musikinstrumente

Inv. No.

Sammlung alter Musikinstrumente, 31

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