Benito Sanchez de Aguilera (Spanish, Madrid, active 1790–1800)
Spruce or fir top, cypress back and ribs, mahogany neck, rosewood fingerboard and frets, ebony nut, gut strings
Purchase, Clara Mertens Bequest, in memory of André Mertens, 1990
Not on view
This is the only known guitar made by the Spanish luthier Benito Sanchez de Aguilera who was active in the last decade of the eighteenth century. The guitar has six double-courses of strings, a transitional style between the five double-course guitars of the baroque and the six single string guitars that became popular in the early nineteenth century and remain the standard to this day. The Sanchez guitar has a sharp contrast between the very wide lower bouts and the much narrower upper bouts. Such a contrast would become increasingly popular in nineteenth century Madrid and within other Spanish traditions. The instrument has a two-piece top of spruce or fir and a three-piece cypress back and sides. The head, neck, and bridge are replacements in the style of the originals.
Marking: 1) (labelled) Me hizo Benito Sanchez/de Aguilera,/calle de Majaderitos/Año de 1797 (final 7 inked in)
Written by, Egberto Bermudez, Pepe Rey, Gerardo Arriaga, Cristina Bordas inThe Spanish Guitar: La Guitarra Española. Exhibition catalogue., 1991 The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1991, pg. 125-126, cat. 10, ill.