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jandepora

Could we talk about instruments represents in historical pictures?

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What about study the old historical pictures to know more about instuments?

I begin with this. Antoine Pesne (1683-1757) Po rtrait d'un violoniste

I could see a button maybe of metal? and maybe it has winding?

and what about this way to tie the strings? When I saw this I thought that maybe could be a way to avoid wolf notes shorting the afterlengt of the string

435937947_AntoinePesne(1683-1757)Portraitdunvioloniste1.thumb.jpg.600bea9cc70de16ba9f42e623e18437e.jpgClipboard01.jpg.01975ecc69c4b51e370d3634928751fc.jpg

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The Pesne portrait is great, thanks for posting that.  The string-tying expedient would be interesting to experiment with (I think this is not the first place I've seen that).  The bridge is a rare find, and adds evidence for the baroque pattern continuing into the 18th c.

The bow!  One really wants to know the date and subject of this painting, because the bow relates to the possibly Italy-influenced pattern that we see in bows by Tourte père in the 1740s.  I understand why you feel the bow button is metal, but ivory was the usual material, and the contrast could be explained by the location in shadow, and painterly shorthand of never returning to develop the basic light/shadow initially placed to indicate the form.

I wonder if that carving has been repaired.  The bow is odd for 1724, particularly for a violin.  Of course who knows what odds and ends were used.

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I wouldn't get too hung up about early bows with screw-tightened frogs. Although the "orthodox" thinking is that it was introduced by Tourte "père" ca.1740-50, at least one of the ca.1720 Tononi bows seems as if its screw-tightened frog is original. They may have been around earlier than is generally thought.

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There is the article by Christian Rault,  which makes reference to several paints/sculptures/instruments.

My favorite: Noces de Cana by Veronese, where one can maybe see the transition from carved ribs (the violas) to bent ribs (the bass), the neck setting on the bass, the bridge position on the violas, bass flat back (with bracing?), violas soundholes (=where is the soundpost, if any?)

 

cheers,

Sug

 

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2 hours ago, jandepora said:

And when it begun to use the winding or lapping in the bows? And what kind of material?

How can we possibly know? The oldest bows I've seen that seem (and we can't really know, can we?) to have original windings are some Tourtes dating to the 1780's, but who can say if earlier bows weren't also wrapped, but lost their wrappings over time? It just takes one violinist to say, hey, this might feel better and a bow could have been wrapped...what is the date of the painting you posted?

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I’ve always loved this painting and wondered what cello this was. Boccherini was Italian( but worked in Spain, I think) was wealthy for most of his life, and worked in the late 1700s, so he would have had a fine instrument, but I never knew what.

 

C9DA7787-915F-4B07-8942-181DC0606EF8.jpeg

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The Spanish Court had a gaggle of Strads, but since much of what we now call "Italy" was under Spanish rule through the 18th century, there were tons of fine instruments from all over Italy in Spain at that time. Of course, that meant Spanish luthiers had acces to fine italian instruments, so Contreras, Guillami and others made some outstanding cellos  in the 18th century. My best old bud in the BSO has an awesome Contreras cello.

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On 6/10/2020 at 6:05 AM, jandepora said:

What about study the old historical pictures to know more about instuments?

I begin with this. Antoine Pesne (1683-1757) Po rtrait d'un violoniste

I could see a button maybe of metal? and maybe it has winding?

and what about this way to tie the strings? When I saw this I thought that maybe could be a way to avoid wolf notes shorting the afterlengt of the string

435937947_AntoinePesne(1683-1757)Portraitdunvioloniste1.thumb.jpg.600bea9cc70de16ba9f42e623e18437e.jpgClipboard01.jpg.01975ecc69c4b51e370d3634928751fc.jpg

If the painter was French, is it safe to assume that the violin and bow or also French?

 

2 minutes ago, Michael Appleman said:

The Spanish Court had a gaggle of Strads, but since much of what we now call "Italy" was under Spanish rule through the 18th century, there were tons of fine instruments from all over Italy in Spain at that time. Of course, that meant Spanish luthiers had acces to fine italian instruments, so Contreras, Guillami and others made some outstanding cellos  in the 18th century. My best old bud in the BSO has an awesome Contreras cello.

I would be very interested to know if the painting includes the end of the bow, although I didn’t see it when looking for the image online. This cello is clear enough to show a nut of ivory, apparently, and a very flat tail piece.

I own a very rare biography of Boccherini written by Germaine De Rothschild, And after reading it, I was amazed that we know so little about him. Including no clue as to who made his cello, ha ha.

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I think it's somewhat dangerous to rely too heavily on iconography. Artists are under no obligation to represent something exactly as it is or was, after all. Regarding the Pesne portrait, I don't see anything particularly out of the ordinary about the instrument or bow, the latter of which seems entirely appropriate for the time period. 

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1 hour ago, JacksonMaberry said:

I think it's somewhat dangerous to rely too heavily on iconography. Artists are under no obligation to represent something exactly as it is or was, after all. Regarding the Pesne portrait, I don't see anything particularly out of the ordinary about the instrument or bow, the latter of which seems entirely appropriate for the time period. 

I agree. Painters were not photographers. A good part of them even hated reality, their idea was to produce art, and not realist visions of the world.

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16 minutes ago, MANFIO said:

I agree. Painters were not photographers. A good part of them even hated reality, their idea was to produce art, and not realist visions of the world.

That might be true for still lifes, but a portrait painter was expected to be true to life, although doubtless crooked noses were straightened and warts removed. The painting of Boccherini appears to be quite accurate. Another painting of Janes Cervetto, from 1783 is also extremely accurate.

i certainly agree with the basic point, but it’s not true in all cases.

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Guido Reni, a musician himself (a violinist, if I am not wrong), painted a very realistic violin with his Santa Cecilia. Even so, the violin was being played in a very unrealistic way...

St Cecilia

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2 minutes ago, MANFIO said:

Guido Reni, a musician himself (a violinist, if I am not wrong), painted a very realistic violin with his Santa Cecilia. Even so, the violin was being played in a very unrealistic way...

St Cecilia

Yes that is true, but it is certainly possible to find many accurate depictions. Each painting must be looked at individually, and the emphasis on accuracy would probably have depended on the desires of the person commissioning the painting. I doubt Boccherini commissioned his own painting; Rather it would’ve been ordered by a member of the royal family who would have every reason for wanting it to be as accurate as possible. The Cervetto painting is discussed at length in a fascinating article about the Haydn D major cello concerto, and it is so accurate that I can see at least a similarity between the varnish of Cervetto’s cello and that of a couple of Hill cellos I’ve seen from that period.

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The details we see in a painted violin will not be noticed by 99,9% of the viewers,  now and in the past.

Even professional musicians, even soloists,  that pass 8 hours a day with a violin in their hands will not have the trained eye to "see" the details a luthier can spot. 

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42 minutes ago, MANFIO said:

The details we see in a painted violin will not be noticed by 99,9% of the viewers,  now and in the past.

Even professional musicians, even soloists,  that pass 8 hours a day with a violin in their hands will not have the trained eye to "see" the details a luthier can spot. 

That is 100% true, and I’ve been trying to learn for years without success, and a painting can never be as detailed as a photograph, although a pencil drawing can be very close. I have never seen a painting that was detailed enough to identify the maker, and I Don’t have skilled eyes enough to identify perhaps the school of an instrument, but a skilled enough Painter could probably get pretty close, and the painting I shared of Boccherini, was certainly quite detailed.

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Thank you Mathieu Valde!

Michael Appleman - the interesting question about later style bows being around earlier is: at what point do we reconceive our categories of types of bows?  Although I wouldn't argue for a change at this stage, I often find myself thinking of short bows as the real baroque bow, early long bows as the real transitional period, and the long bows of the bulk of the 18th c. as representing an era of their own rather than a 'transition'.

Jandepora - FWIW I meant to say I don't think the bow in the painting is wrapped.  I think what we're seeing in the area you indicate is a highlight that happens to occur at a transition in the fluting of the bow.  You can see the highlight continue upwards into the fluted area.  Note that the shadow in the area in question is the same color as in the rest of the bow.

PhilipKT - the painter was all over Europe.  Born in Paris, studied in Italy, worked in Venice and Berlin, Dresden, Dessau, visited London, and seems to have had quite a network.

- about the level of detail in the portrait of Boccherini, there's actually a lot of fudging of details in that painting, the hand and leg anatomy is painted according to simplified formulas rather than close observation.

JacksonMaberry - a lot changed during the more or less 40 years in which this painting might have been painted.  Knowing the date and the subject would be quite valuable.

About iconography, people who have not done much drawing often miss errors of representation, so that one runs into instances of too much as well as too little credence given to painted details.  It all has to be taken with a grain of salt of course, yet we must keep trying to puzzle out what we legitimately can from paintings.

It's worth noting that Manfio's point about observation goes further than specialized knowledge, even an accomplished realist painter like Nelson Shanks was capable of very strange failures of observation such as seen in this portrait of Rostropovich:

 

spacer.png

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32 minutes ago, Andres Sender said:

Thank you Mathieu Valde!

Michael Appleman - the interesting question about later style bows being around earlier is: at what point do we reconceive our categories of types of bows?  Although I wouldn't argue for a change at this stage, I often find myself thinking of short bows as the real baroque bow, early long bows as the real transitional period, and the long bows of the bulk of the 18th c. as representing an era of their own rather than a 'transition'.

Jandepora - FWIW I meant to say I don't think the bow in the painting is wrapped.  I think what we're seeing in the area you indicate is a highlight that happens to occur at a transition in the fluting of the bow.  You can see the highlight continue upwards into the fluted area.  Note that the shadow in the area in question is the same color as in the rest of the bow.

PhilipKT - the painter was all over Europe.  Born in Paris, studied in Italy, worked in Venice and Berlin, Dresden, Dessau, visited London, and seems to have had quite a network.

- about the level of detail in the portrait of Boccherini, there's actually a lot of fudging of details in that painting, the hand and leg anatomy is painted according to simplified formulas rather than close observation.

JacksonMaberry - a lot changed during the more or less 40 years in which this painting might have been painted.  Knowing the date and the subject would be quite valuable.

About iconography, people who have not done much drawing often miss errors of representation, so that one runs into instances of too much as well as too little credence given to painted details.  It all has to be taken with a grain of salt of course, yet we must keep trying to puzzle out what we legitimately can from paintings.

It's worth noting that Manfio's point about observation goes further than specialized knowledge, even an accomplished realist painter like Nelson Shanks was capable of very strange failures of observation such as seen in this portrait of Rostropovich:

 

spacer.png

I was immediately drawn to this weird picture of Rostropovich. I am sure that the distortion we see is entirely intentional. This looks almost like a caricature. I am sure the artist is skilled enough to have done a correct representation if he had chosen to do so.

Regarding the Boccherini painting, his hands, his left hand in particular, are entirely accurate in terms of how they are holding the bow and placed on the fingerboard. It is even obvious what notes boccherini’s playing: F sharp G natural and A natural. They may not be as exact as a page from Grey’s Anatomy, but they do accurately depict proper cello technique. I went back and looked at the Boccherini painting again, and yes, the hands are not anatomically correctly depicted. We don’t see the bones, the tendons,, or other fine details of hand anatomy, but the depiction is essentially accurate.I went back and looked at the Boccherini painting again, and yes, the hands are not anatomically correctly depicted. We don’t see the outline of the bones, the tendons, or other fine details of hand anatomy, such as in Dürer‘s “Praying Hands,” but the depiction is essentially accurate.

Here as the painting I mentioned earlier, of James Cervetto. According to the accompanying article, this painting dates from 1783, If I recall correctly. The Detail is lovely, even if the anatomy is not. The Hand Position, btw, Shows the skill of Cervetto and not a fancy of the painter.

40EDA58D-E95C-4EC2-A611-101325B5C2B3.jpeg

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I like how the reality is represent even in this two pictures with the pegs of diferent type and color.

1562717492_AriedeVois(1630-1680)Themerryfiddlerc_1670..jpg.0df427d84d0d16e43cef2cf405b713d2.jpg868835229_c.1625-1668JanMienseMolenaerNetherlands.thumb.jpg.0dac8560841563a6db6a63d2d827ff31.jpg

 

Or this one that one can see the D string Venice.

660390390_louis-michel_van_loo_portrait_dun_violoniste_attribue_a_.thumb.jpg.a552be2b9e485b3dc0bc5b306af39b2f.jpg3473503_Louis-MichelvanLoo(1707-1771)detail.jpg.1bbd0b8cf783e9521df248f5551741a2.jpg

Or this two bows

1808150296_1700-1799c_Unknown_Frenchschool_Portraitofaviolinist_oiloncanvas_photoDrouot20181018-Lot94_France.png.82afac401fadc32a9c233e00a5225bf6.png477628900_ANTOINE-PAULVINCENT(FRENCHFL.C.1790-1810)-AfaintinscriptiononthebackingpaperreadsL...clbre-uzernRennesenBretagnepremierprix...peintparVincentqui.thumb.jpg.cd6c74e8202baba7bc3237e80ab71555.jpg

352701641_ANTOINE-PAULVINCENTdetallearco.thumb.jpg.426f88901bb422afb4361d9fb121b09f.jpg

Attributed to British School, 17th century Portrait of a Man known as David Rizzio c.1620.jpg

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6 hours ago, PhilipKT said:

If the painter was French, is it safe to assume that the violin and bow or also French?

Violin visually is unmistakeable Mirecourt, middle of 18th century, I have one un original setup (but no original bridge) - exactly same type. Bow is much more interesting...

 

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