Translated from Dutch
Stylistic Features of the Instruments of the Violin Family in Seventeenth Century Dutch Paintings
Whatever the meaning, the hidden symbolic messages or the iconographic theme of representations from the Golden Age may be, the elements with which they are composed are often so realistic that they can be studied in detail. This certainly applies to the illustrations of the instruments of the violin family. In addition to the fact that they play a remarkable role in the iconography of that time, they offer, due to their large number and their quality as a document, the possibility to study the visual characteristics of the seventeenth century violin in the Netherlands. They allow us to follow their evolution starting as early as 1620, despite the fact that no extant organological material concerning this material has come to us from well past the middle of the century. This unclarified period between about 1620 and 1660/1670 appears to be a pivotal era, because it is precisely then that the transition from "archaic" to "modern" stylistic features can be observed in Dutch iconography.
Report on the Reconstruction of a 17th Century Dutch Archaic Type of Violin by Wim Raymaekers © 1997
While I was extensively studying the forgotten lutherie style represented in many Dutch paintings from the era between 1620 and 1640, the plan arose to make a reconstruction, not only on paper but also for real. It was of course impossible to make an exact copy or anything like it, simply because not one example of this type remains. For the time being I simply conceived a violin that contained a number of stylistic and technical features of this "new archaic" type of instrument. I didn't choose the most frequent hallmarks, but the most characteristic ones. The result is now part of the permanent exhibition in the "Museum Vleeshuis" in Antwerp to illustrate the kind of violins used by minstrels in the16th and 17th century cities of the Low Countries.