Attributed to Joseph de Frías (Spanish, active Seville and Cadiz, ca. 1775–1800)
Spruce, rosewood, cedar, ebony, mother-of-pearl
Height: 37 5/16 in. (94.7 cm)
Width (of lower bouts): 11 in. (27.9 cm)
Depth (at tail): 4 3/4 in. (12.1 cm)
Purchase, Clara Mertens Bequest, in memory of André Mertens, 1992
Not on view
This nearly pristine instrument is a fine example of Spanish guitar making in the late eighteenth century. Rather unusually, the soundboard is of five pieces, similar to a guitar by Frías located in the Museo de la Festa in Alicante. It is decorated with inlaid rosewood, mother-of-pearl, and ebony floral features around the soundhole, at the base of the fingerboard, and between the bridge and the end of the guitar. An important feature of this instrument is the absence of bracing on the underside of the soundboard. Most six-course (twelve-string) guitars of this period were fan braced, whereas here the soundboard has been reinforced with woven cloth adhered in an X pattern to the inside of the soundboard.
[ David Cohen ]
"Recent Acquisitions: A Selection 1992-1993." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin (1993), pg. 41, ill.