16. or 17. century, Manufacturer: anonym




This cittern is mentioned in a 17th century Ambras inventory. Its body is reminiscent of the design of the ancient lyre and it was probably used on stage as a theatrical instrument. The attempt to revive the theatrical arts of the ancient world through contemporary means is a typical characteristic of the late Renaissance period. The resonating body itself is very small and makes up only the lowest part of the instrument. It is decorated with gilded ornaments.The upper part of the corpus corresponds in design to the arms of a lyre. The two necks of the cittern replace the cross-bar of the lyre. The use of volutes and leaf-patterning are a quotation of historic stylistic features. The instrument is strung with metal strings and has metal frets. Six strings are mounted in a pegbox while a separate neck carries the eight bass strings of successively increasing length. (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





16. or 17. century


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

1600 mm x 360 mm x 45 mm

Image rights

Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, Sammlung alter Musikinstrumente

Inv. No.

Sammlung alter Musikinstrumente, 61

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