This article is a translation of a publication originally written in Dutch: Wim RAYMAEKERS, De vormkenmerken van de instrumenten der vioolfamilie in de 17de-eeuwse Nederlandse schilderkunst, in Musica antiqua. Actuele informatie over oude muziek, 6, 3, 1989, p.98-105. Although some details might be outdated, the contents of this text is still relevant an innovative, since it widens our knowledge of archaic violins in the same way the “rediscovery” of the Alemannic school and the Freiberger violins did.
THE 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.
Some typical features from the years 1620-1640, clearly visible on a painting by Judith Leyster: " A Boy playing the Flute" (detail), c. 1630, (Stockholm, National Museum, inv. no. 1120).
The heyday of the Dutch “archaic” violins (1620-1640) Between 1620 and 1640 the presence of a number of forgotten violin making characteristics is so general and so obvious, that it is safe to say that at that time the usual violin type was archaic in shape and construction. To support this thesis and to reconstruct this old instrument type starting from iconography we have numerous dated or at least approximately datable representations on art works of known and lesser known masters, first of all the Haarlem painters Frans (1581/85-1666) and Dirck Hals (1591-1656), Pieter Claesz (ca.1597-1660), Jan Miense Molenaer (ca.1610-1668) and Judith Leyster (1609-1660), as well as the Utrecht Caravaggists Dirck van Baburen (c. 1595-1624), Gerrit van Honthorst (1590-1656) and Hendrick Terbrugghen (1588-1629).
A violin without heel and with a decorated back in Dirck van Baburen: "The Concert " (detail), c. 1623, (Leningrad, Hermitage, inv. no. 772). Some of the archaic features that appear, undeniably belong to the violin-players-violin-makers tradition typical for the countries north of the Alps. For example, the long, or even very long corners (fig. 1b), betray a construction in which the different rib pieces are joined without corner blocks. Remarkable also is the fact that the "heel" of the back is often very small or even completely missing, which is an indication for another “cisalpine” construction. Neck and top block were made out of one piece of wood, which means that in fact the neck was glued directly to the back. So the heel did not play an equally important role as it does with other construction methods, namely those, where neck and top block consist of two parts. In that case the heel is an indispensable extra-reinforcement for the joint between neck and body. The sound holes, with varying dimensions, ranging from very short to very long, can also be called archaic. The so-called "wings" (fig. 1c) are always very small. Moreover they are never cut straight as in classical violin making, but they run in a slight curve. Thus they form a sharp angle with both circles at the ends: the top and bottom circles (Fig. 1d). The latter both usually have the same diameter and are often very large. Typical is also the diamond-shaped opening created in the middle by the deeply cut notches (fig. 1e). Similar sound holes could already be found in old German violins from the fourth quarter of the 16th century.
fig. 1. Main features of the archaic violin prevailing in Dutch paintings between 1620 and 1640: (a) pegbox with wide sides and with cutouts, (b) sound box with long corners, (c) sound holes with small sharp "wings", (d) with top and bottom circles of equal size and (e) with large notches.
fig. 2. Tuning pegs (a) of the archaic type and b) of the modern “Italian” type.
Notable in this period is the unusual shape of the pegbox. In front view one notices that it has wide sides, in which cut-outs are made on each side near the nut so as to allow the outer strings to pass easier into the pegbox (fig. 1a). This practice, archaic once more, can also be found in viol construction, and is abundantly present here. In addition, one encounters the same type of tuning pegs all the time with concave tops, more or less sickle-shaped, sometimes with rounded corners and decorated with a button (fig. 2a). These stick very deeply into the pegbox.
Gerrit van Honthorst: "Violinist" (detail), 1624, (Private coll.). Such representations where only the pegbox is visible are frequently seen and apparently sufficed to suggest the presence of an archaic violin.
Despite these “archaic” features this type of violin cannot be called "primitive" or "unsophisticated". On the contrary, they are finished neatly and the shaping is aesthetically satisfying, including some other elements, which in turn show more variation. Sometimes belly and back get once single, sometimes a double purfling. In the first case the single purfling is quite far from the edge. Occasionally the back is decorated with straight inlayed strips.
Gerrit van Honthorst: "The Merry Violinist" (detail), 1623, (Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum, inv. no. A180).
A sense for variation and beauty speaks from the design of the pegs, bridges, tailpieces and from the scroll or the head. The string holder often shows the old characteristic baluster shape, but some artists prefer the simple model, rejuvenating towards the bottom nut, for example a number of Haarlem painters from the circle of Frans Hals: his brother Dirck, his student Judith Leyster and her future husband Jan Molenaer. To attach them to the sound box in some cases a pyramidal button or even a tuning peg with rounded corners was being used. It seems unlikely that the latter would serve to compensate the stretching of the gut mounting cord .
Pieter Claesz: “Vanitas still life" (detail), ca. 1628, (Nurenberg, Germanisches Nationalmuseum, inv. no. 1409).
Just like the tailpiece, the short fingerboard is often decorated with straight strips of purfling. It is ended either with a straight line, or with a symmetrical motive, for example an accolade. In front view it narrows just slightly towards the top nut, so the strings are wide apart and run almost parallel. The shape of the low violin bridge is quite simple, with usually only a semicircular lower arch. Intricate shapes as in one painting by Dirck van Baburen are rather exceptional. The pegbox, adorned in a number of ways, sometimes takes the form of a shield, but usually it is a simple curl, with or without center rib. Occasionally the "ears" (the sides of the windings) are flat. Sometimes the transition from the straight side of the pegbox to the side of the scroll does not run gradually, but brusquely, right before the start of the curl itself, so that a visual separation is created between the two . Likewise, in case of a lion's head or a human head, the same effect is obtained by a type of collar between the two parts.
Visual separation between the side of the pegbox and the winding of the scroll: Pieter Codde: "Masked Ball" (detail), 1630 or 1636, (Private coll.).
To the extent that an estimate of the proportions is possible, one can attempt to learn something about the different instrument sizes. The normal (soprano) violin prevails, in so far it can be distinguished from the violas on the one hand and the violini piccoli on the other hand. Apart from boat-shaped dancing-master kits, a tenor can be found played downwards and with five strings.The double bass is mainly absent, pointing towards an apparently private. dilettante music making practice in which this instrument didn’t fit in. The fact that no extant double basses have survived from the Netherlands. unlike from other countries, does not necessarily prove the lack of violin makers in the Republic.
Hendrick Terbrugghen: "A Boy playing the Violin” (detail), 1626, (Dayton Art Institute). Note the decorated fingerboard and tailpiece.
Dirck van Baburen: "The Prodigal Son "(detail), 1623, (Mainz, Mittelrheinisches Landesmuseum).
Gerrit van Honthorst: "The Concert "(detail), c. 1625, (Rome, Galleria Borghese, inv. no. 31).
Dirck Matham: "Vanitas" (detail), 1622, (engraving, ex. Haarlem, Municipal Archives).
The bass violins of the size of the cello (or slightly larger) take, in terms of number of representations, a second place after the violin, and are provided with four, usually five strings. These instruments are played using the underhanded (da gamba) bow grip. Apart from the presence of the fifth string and the cutouts in the pegbox, perhaps this is the reason why these instruments were often held for viols. However Praetorius clearly cataloged them as belonging to the violin family: the five-string bass violins correspond in detail with his “Bas-Geig de bracio”.
Pl. XXI from M. PRAETORIUS, Syntagma musicum, 2. De organographia, Wolffenbüttel, 1619.
The provenance of these archaic violins This recemblance could strengthen the conviction that the instruments of the type described just now were imported from Germany to the Netherlands. It has been previously established that members of the violin making family Enzensperger from Fussen would have traded with Holland. Furthermore, as stated before, the same sound holes can be traced in Germany as well as the scrolls visually separated from the pegbox. Praetorius’ illustrations though only show the typical cutouts at the pegbox for the bass violin, and not for the smaller members of the violin. One would be equally entitled to wonder if they didn’t originate from Flanders, and more specifically from Antwerp. As early as 1559 an Utrecht magistrate bought five violins in this Flemish city from a certain Pedro Lupo. Later the import of musical instruments from Flanders to the north, mainly to Haarlem and Amsterdam, increased. It also appears that an important part of the representations of the violin type described here was provided by artists from Haarlem. In the first half of the 17th century this city was, like Amsterdam, a chosen place to settle for Flemish immigrants. Moreover several of the aforementioned Dutch painters, as well as some string instrument makers were of Flemish origin. In spite of the fact that the iconography for that time in Flanders is much less clear, there is one known example of an instrument with a number of characteristics of the “Dutch” violin type: on a still life of the Antwerp citizen Arnbrosius Brueghel (1617-1675) a violin with a double purfling can be seen, with a scroll without center rib and with the characteristic cutouts in the pegbox. However, everything indicates that the Dutch themselves made violins at the time. And besides, this is completely in accord with the violin making traditions north of the Alps. Given the large number of representations this is almost obvious. In any case between 1600 and 1650 some instrument makers were explicitly mentioned as "fijoelmaker" in Amsterdam, and probably many other Amsterdam "instrument makers” and “cittern makers" manufactured this kind of violins. All this does not take away the possibility, that apart from an important Dutch production, there was still room for import.
Orazio Gentileschi: "The Lute Player" (detail), c. 1610, (Washington, National Gallery of Art, Alisa Mellon Bruce Fund 1962).
The transition to the “modern” type (after ca. 1640)
The old violin type, prospering between 1620 and 1640, was doomed to disappear. Even before the middle of the century, changes in musical taste, whereby French and Italian elements were enthusiastically adopted by the higher bourgeoisie of the Republic, were accompanied by major changes in violin making, in any case as far as the external form was concerned. This is evident from dozens of paintings and engravings by various masters from circa 1640 and after. Although just as for the harpsichord some important names are missing, like Rembrandt, Vermeer and others, some famous artists are involved: Jan Steen (1626-1679), Gabriel Metsu (1629-1667), Pieter de Hooch (1629-1684), Jacob Ochterveld (1634-1682) ...
Jacob Ochterveld (1634-1682): "Music lesson" (detail), 1671, (Chicago, The Art Institute, Ryerson Collection, inv. no. 1933, 1088). This time, however, there are more similarities with Italian violin making from the beginning of the 17th century, and less with the traditional cisalpine type. A comparison with violins on Italian paintings from that time and with extant instruments by the brothers Amati quickly makes this clear. Already in a painting by Frans Hals, dated around 1640 and even earlier according to some, the portrayed Daniel van Aken plays a violin of the new "Italian" type, with a sound box with short corners and "modern" f-holes with large "wings"and small notches as well as top and bottom circles of uneven size. From now on the tuning pegs, decorated with a button, are no longer sickle-shaped, but oval (Fig.2b). Even the pegbox has a "normal" shape: narrow sides and no cutouts.
Frans Hals: "Daniel van Aken as a Violinist "(detail), c. 1640, (Stockholm, National Museum, inv. no. 1567).
From the middle of the century on these new characteristics undeniably get the upper hand. In addition, the fingerboard ends from then on are usually straight, the baluster-shaped tailpieces become obsolete in favor of the simpler ones, widening towards the bridge, and the tuning pegs become round or oval Unlike before these parts are often black. After all, ebony was easier available from the colonies now. To attach the tailpiece a turned button was used. Finally, the bridges shape is still pretty simple, but as before with the bass violins, perforated in the middle. More often than between 1620 and 1640, it stands close to the tailpiece. In Flanders iconography from the second half of the century offers more clear examples of such instruments, for example by the Antwerp residents Cornelis Gijsbrechts (active between 1659 and 1678) and Gonzales Coques (1616-1684).
An Antwerp presentation of the modern violin type: Gonzales Coques: "Violinist" (detail), second half of the 17th century (Sibiu, Museum Brukenthal, inv. no. 554).
As for the bass violins, one adheres longer to the old features: up to the last quarter of the century, examples can still be found with baluster shaped tailpieces, sickle-shaped pegs and "old fashioned" f-holes. Perhaps export of cellos from Italy - or at least of their characteristics –took over more slowly. Nevertheless the resemblance to Praetorius' Bas-Geig de bracio is much less evident. The instrument now only has four strings and features a regular pegbox.
The bow evolved considerably during the seventeenth century, an evolution we can follow because it often accompanies the violin in paintings, sometimes wedged between fingerboard and strings. Initially still shorter than the violin itself and with a narrow tip, it will become longer and will show a high tip, more in the shape of a swan head, by the end of the century.
Not a single instrument from the Netherlands of the archaic type has survived. From notarial deeds drawn up in Amsterdam, it appears that the instrument often is the first victim in quarrels between musicians, among themselves, or between musicians and outsiders. No doubt a change of taste played a role: the "old fashioned" violins, especially when they were damaged, were obviously replaced by modern, Italianate instruments with features which in essence remained in use up to this date.
Georges de La Tour: "Musicians Quarrel", c. 1627-30, (Private coll.).
Yet thanks to iconography we have a clearer image now of the old instrument type that had vanished and of the changes the violin went through in the Netherlands during the seventeenth century. However, this contribution needs to be considered as a starting point for broader exploration of the subject. Both for art historians as for organologists such researches could be helpful. On the one hand additional tools could be created to question the authenticity of paintings. On the other hand our knowledge of music and musical instruments could grow. A practical application for example could be: a Dutch 17th century violin restored to its “original” state, would no longer be provided with a so called “Stradivarius” bridge, but with a bridge designed using elements found on images from that period. Wim Raymaekers
K. MOENS, Voorstellingswijze en functie van de viool in de beeldende kunsten uit de 17de eeuw in de Nederlanden,, in preparation.
 A.o. Jan van Bijlert (ca.1603-1671), Willem Buytewech (1591/92-1624), Pieter Codde (1599-1678), Christiaen van Couwenbergh (1604-1667), G. Donck (active first half of the 17th century), Gerrit Dou (1613-1675), Adriaen van Gaesbeeck (1621-1650), Jan Davidsz de Heem (1606-1683/84). Jacob Marrel the Elder (1614-1681), Dirck Matham (1605 / 06-1676), Jacob Fransz van der Merck (ca.1610-1664), Anthonie Palamedesz (1601-1673), Cornelis Saftleven (1607-1681) and Johannes Vermeulen (signaled between 1634 and 1674).
 About these traditional northern construction methods, see K. MOENS, De viool in de 16de en 17de eeuw. Oorsprong en ontwikkeling van haar vorm- en bouwkenmerken, 3. Reminiscenties aan de speelmanneninstrumentenbouw in de 17de-eeuwse vioolbouw, in Musica antiqua, 2, 1985, p. 85-90.
 The characteristic glue seam between the rib parts that comes with such joint of the corners is clearly visible in P. Claesz: "Vanitas still life", c. 1628, (Nurnberg, Germanisches Nationalmuseum, inv. no. 1409).
 Clearly visible in a painting by D. van Baburen: "The concert", c. 1623, (Leningrad, Hermitage, inv. no. 772).
 They are called “flaps” by L. METZ, Strijkinstrumenten vroeger en nu, Amsterdam, (1979), p. 59.
 Namely on instruments by Paul and Georg Klemm, kept in the Freiberg Cathedral (Saxony), see: K. MOENS, Die Friihgeschichte der Violine im Lichte neuer Forschungen, in Tage alter Musik in Herne. Lauten, Harfen, Violinen (exhibition cat.), Herne, 1984, fig. on p. 66.
 e.g. in D. Hals: "Merry company", 1627, (Berlin-Dahlem, Staatliche Museen Preussischer Kulturbesitz, inv. No. 816B) and in D. van Baburen: "The concert", c. 1623, (Leningrad, Hermitage, inv. no. 772).
 Namely in G. van Honthorst: "The Merry Violinist ", 1623, (Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum, inv. no. A180).
 P. Claesz: "Vanitas Still Life", c. 1628, (Nurenberg, Germanisches Nationalmuseum, inv. no. 1409); id .: “Still life with thorn extractor", 1628, (Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum, inv. no. A3930), J. Marrel the Elder: "Still live", 1637, (Karlsruhe, Staatliche Kunsthalle); C. Saftleven: "Interior with bagpipe player ", 1635, Prague, Narodni Gallery, inv. no. 0-8706).
 As suggested by I. WATCHORN, Baroque Renaissance, in The Strad, 95, 1984-1985, p. 826.
 D. van Baburen: "The prodigal son", 1623, (Mainz, Mittelrheinisches Landesmuseum); id .: "Apollo and Marsyas", c. 1623, (Bückeburg, Castle, Collection Fürst Schaumburg-Lippe).
 e.g. in an anonymous Haarlem work c. 1640: "Interior with a Seated Man", (Koblenz, Mittelrhein-Museum).
 e.g. in P. Codde: "Masked ball", 1630 or 1636, (Private coll.); Jan Lievens (1607-1674): "Still life with Violin, Books and Skull ", 1627, (Heino, Foundation Hannema-de Stuers).
 Namely in J. van Bijlert: "The concert", (Warsaw, National Museum, inv. no. 231020).
 About old double basses and their construction, see K. MOENS, Entwicklung von Baumerkmalen im frühen Basstreichinstrumentenbau, in Kontrabass und Bassfunktion, (Innsbrucker Beiträge zur Musikwissenschaft, 12), Innsbruck, (1986), p. 33-50, p. 206-210.
 e.g .: H.-J. RAUPP, Musik im Atelier.Darstellungen musizierender Kiinstler in der niederländischen Malerei des 17. Jahrhunderts in Oud Holland, 9, 92, 1978, p. 127-128; P. FISCHER, Music in Paintings of the Low Countries in the 16th and 17th Centuries, in Sonorum speculum, 50-51, 1972, p. 86-88.
 M. PRAETORIUS, Syntagma musicum, 2, De organographia, Wolffenbüttel, 1619, p. 48, pl. XXI-6.
 A. LAYER, Die allgäuer Lauten- und Geigenmacher, Augsburg, 1978, p. 12.
 K. MOENS, Die Frühgeschichte der violine ..., p. 65, fig. p. 66.
 K. MOENS, De viool in de 16de en 17de eeuw ..., p. 87.
 E. CLOSSON, La facture des instruments de musique en Belgique, Brussels, 1935, p. 58, 73; W. KOLNEDER, Das Buch der Violine. Bau, Geschichte, Spiel, Pedagogik, Komposition, (Zurich-Freiburg, 1972), p. 122.
More specifically the Ruckers harpsichords were popular there; see P. FISCHER, o.c., p. 62-63. - The Antwerp harpsichord builders presumably also manufactured and traded string instruments. In addition, in Antwerp in the 16th and 17th centuries, string instrument makers were very active; see E. CLOSSON, o.c., p. 52, 57-59.
 In this city, which maintained relations with Flemish cities such as Antwerp, lived Willem Buytewech, Pieter Claesz, Dirck and Frans Hals, Judith Leyster, Dirck Matham, Jan Miense Molenaer and Johannes Vermeulen, among others. .
 J.J. TEMMINCK, Haarlem vroeger en nu, (Fibula heemschutreeks, 10), Bussum, 1971, p. 35, 49; J.G.C.A. BRIELS, De Zuidnederlandse immigratie in Amsterdam en Haarlem omstreeks 1572-1630. Met een keuze van archivalische gegevens betreffende de kunstschilders, Utrecht, 1976, p. 148-168.
 A.o. A.J. van Offenbeeck (c. 1580-after 1628) and members of the Burlon family, see: S.A.C. DUDOK VAN HEEL and J.H. GISKES, Noord-Nederlandse pre-Rembrandtisten en Zuid-Nederlandse muziekinstrumentmakers. De schilders Pynas en de luit- en citermakers Burlon en Coop, in Jaarboek van het genootschap Amstelodamum, 76, 1984, p. 23-37; J.H. GISKES Tweehonderd jaar bouw van strijkinstrumenten in Amsterdam (1600-1800), in Jaarboek van het genootschap Amstelodamum, 79, 1987, p. 58.
 About the representation of violins and bass violins in 17th-century Flemish art, see R.D. LEPPERT, The Theme of Music in Flemish Paintings of the Seventeenth Century, (Musik und Musiker im Bild. Ikonologische Studien, I), 2 vol, Munich-Salzburg, 1977, (including index vol. 2, p. 213).
 A. Breughel, "Vanitas Still Life" (private coll.), see E. GREINDL, Les peintres flamands de nature morte au XVIle siècle, (Sterrebeek, 1983), p. 199, 342.
 J.H. GISKES, , Tweehonderd jaar bouw van strijkinstrumenten ..., p. 57-62.
 30. About this evolution of the musical taste, see K. MOENS, Evolutie van de bouw van de instrumenten uit de viola-familie in de 16de-17de en 18de eeuw, licentiate dissertation K.U.L., Louvain, 1982, p. 64- 65.
 L. VAN DIJCK and T. KOOPMAN, Het klavecimbel in de Nederlandse kunst tot 1800. The Harpsichord in Dutch Art before 1800, (Amsterdam-Zutphen, 1987), [p. 7].
 A.o. by Orazio Riminaldi (1586-1630), Bartolomeo Bettera (? -?) and Orazio Gentileschi (1563-1639).
 F. Hals: "Daniel van Aken as a Violinist", ca.1640, (Stockholm, National Museum, inv. no. 1567), see S. SLIVE, Frans Hals, (National Gallery of Art. Kress Foundation. Studies in the History of European Art, 4), bd. I, (London-New York), 1970, p. 154.
 Another model, with a concave back, more or less in the shape of the known "Hill" tuning pegs, but thicker can be found in the bottom right corner of the painting by Abraham van den Tempel (1622 / 23-1672): "The Amsterdam merchant David Leeuw with his family ", 1671, (Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum, inv. no. A 1972).
 Good examples are to be found in the paintings by Pieter van Roestraten (ca. 1630-1700) and Evert Collier (ca.1640-after 1707).
 The string instruments painted by J.M. Molenaer are therefore not the same as the extant 17th century Dutch violins, contrary to what is claimed by C.C.J. von GLEICH, Huismuziek in de Gouden Eeuw. Bij een schilderij van Jan Miense Molenaer (ca. 1610-1668), in Openbaar kunstbezit, 10, 1966, p. 9a.
 J.H. GISKES, De vioolmakersfamilies Boumeester en Menslage te Amsterdam, in Jaarboek van het genootschap Amstelodamum, 71, 1979, p. 55. - Such a quarrel is aptly illustrated by Georges de La Tour (1593-1652); "Musicians fight", c. 1627-1630, (Private coll.). The violin pictured here has a crack in the ribs and a two part back with open joint.
 Such a bridge can be found, for example on a painting by Francesco de Mura (1696-1782): "Allegory of Fine Arts "(Paris, Musée du Louvre). Most likely this painting represents one of the Stradivarius violins from the collection of the Spanish court. See A.P. THE MIRIMONDE, Astrologie et musique, (lconographie musicale, 5), Geneva, 1977, p. 80-81; W.H. HILL, A.F. HILL and A.E. HILL, Antonio Stradivari. His Life and Work. 1644-1737, London, 1902, p. 94, 233-234.