Art/ Collection/ Art Object


Sixtus Rauchwolff (German, Augsburg 1556?–after 1629)
Augsburg, Germany
Rosewood, ivory, wood, ebony
Height: 23 in. (58.4 cm)
Width: 7 in. (17.8 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Joseph W. Drexel, 1889
Accession Number:
Not on view
The back of this Renaissance lute is constructed of twenty-five ebony or rosewood ribs with ivory spacers, and its top is Alpine spruce. It was probably originally made for seven or eight courses (pairs) of strings, but in the seventeenth century the neck, bridge, and pegbox were replaced or modified to give the instrument a Baroque configuration. In the nineteenth century, the neck was reduced, fixed frets were added, and the instrument was changed to six-strings, like on a guitar.

Sixtus Rauchwolff had an excellent reputation in his day and was a maker of lutes for the prominent Fugger family and the court orchestra in Stuttgart. A label inside the instrument identifies him as the maker and 1596 as the date of the lute. The name of Matthias Hummel, who probably made the Baroque alterations to the instrument, also appears.
Marking: 1) (MS label) "Sixtus Rauchwolff/Augustanus. Aº 1596/Manu Propa"
2) Printed repair label "Matthias Hummel Lauten= und Geigenmacher in Nürnberg Anno 1694 zugericht"
Joseph W. Drexel
"Guitar Heroes: Legendary Craftsmen from Italy to New York." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin (2011), pg. 6-7, ill.

"Musical Instruments in The Metropolitan Museum." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin (1978), Vol. XXXV, No. 3, pg. 12, ill.

Catalogue of the Crosby Brown Collection of Musical Instruments: Europe. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1904, vol. I, pg. 26.

Related Objects

Rectangular Octave Virginal

Artist: Date: ca. 1600
Accession Number: 89.4.1778
Date: ca. 1600 Medium: Ebony, beech, brass, leather, paper, parchment, ivory Accession: 89.4.1778 On view in:Not on view


Artist: Hermann Hauser (German, Munich 1882–1952 Reisbach) Date: 1937 Medium: Spruce, rosewood, mahogany, bone or ivory, ebony Accession: 1986.353.1 On view in:Not on view

Musical Clock with Spinet and Organ

Artist: Veit Langenbucher (1587–1631) Date: ca. 1625 Medium: Ebony, gliding, brass, silver gilt, gilt brass, iron, various wood and metals, wire, parchment and leather Accession: 2002.323a–f On view in:Not on view


Artist: Lorenz Hauslaib (German, Nuremberg 1568–1625 Regensburg) Date: 1598 Medium: Wood, bone, ebony, metal, pear, quill, lead, leather, parchment Accession: 89.4.1191 On view in:Not on view


Artist: Date: ca. 1420
Accession Number: 64.101.1409
Date: ca. 1420 Medium: Boxwood, rosewood, ebony Accession: 64.101.1409 On view in:Not on view