On this guitar by Matteo Sellas (ca. 1599-1654) there are metal pins on the lower end showing that it was originally a chitarra battente that was later converted into a five-course Baroque guitar. Guitars of the Baroque period were fitted with double-stringed courses, like lutes. The instrument displays craftsmanship of the highest order, both in the construction of the body and in the ornamental work. The body is built out of a series of narrow strips of yew, exploiting the natural colour-contrast between core and sap wood. In contrast to later guitars, Sellas’ instrument has an arched back. The optical design of the top plate is divided into three fields of inlaid trellis-work. The rosette around the sound hole is particularly artfully shaped, leading the eye into the depths with its terraced patterning. (rh) Lit.: Rudolf Hopfner: Masterpieces from the Collection of Historic Musical Instruments. A Short Guide through the Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, Vol. 1, Vienna 2019
Chitarra battente (modified)
1st half of the 17th century
990 mm x 275 mm x 55 mm
Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, Sammlung alter Musikinstrumente
Sammlung alter Musikinstrumente, 47
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