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Images from The Rawlins Gallery

Violino Piccolo by Girolamo Amati, Cremona, 1613

Neck, bass side Pegbox, bass side Neck, bass side Neck heel, bass side Bass side Tailpiece bottom, bass side Bass side Bass side Bottom rib

Note: Click on any major structural area of the instrument to see a close-up of that area.

NMM 3361. Violino piccolo by Girolamo Amati, Cremona, 1613.   One of only three Cremonese instruments known to have survived in original condition (the other two are the NMM's Andrea Guarneri tenor viola, 1664, and the Medici tenor viola by Stradivari, 1690, at the Museo del Conservatorio "L. Cherubini," in Florence). It retains its original scroll, neck, fingerboard, saddle, button, and tailpiece. The nut and pegs are not original to the instrument, but are contemporary with the time during which the instrument was built (Hermann/Witten Collection). A minor repair at the junction of the belly and the neck appears to be the only alteration made to this exceptionally well-preserved instrument. The violino piccolo was designed to play the high passages in music at a time when violinists played primarily in the first position.   Ex coll.: Andrew Fountaine, London.   Witten-Rawlins Collection, 1984.


Soundholes

Soundholes

Note: Click on image above to see a larger image of the soundholes.

The earliest music to call for the violino piccolo is Claudio Monteverdi's opera, Orfeo, written in 1607, six years before this instrument was built. Monteverdi's use of the phrase 'violini piccioli alla francese' has been the focus of some controversy, leading to the formulation of several hypotheses as to the specific instrument intended, but it is likely that an instrument like the NMM's violino piccolo was, in fact, the instrument called for in Monteverdi's opera. The best known music written for the violino piccolo is that composed by Johann Sebastian Bach, including his Cantatas Nos. 96 (Herr Christ, der einge Gottessohn) and 140 (Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme), as well as the Brandenburg Concerto No. 1 (BWV 1046).


Pegbox and Scroll Views

Front view of pegbox Back view of pegbox

Note: Click on images above to see larger images of the pegbox.

Bass side view of pegbox Treble side view of pegbox

Note: Click on images above to see larger images of the pegbox.


Neck Heel Views

Neck heel, back view
Neck heel, treble side
Neck heel, bass side  

Back view

Treble side

Bass side

Note: Click on images or text above to see larger images of the neck heel area.

This small violin (back length: 266 mm), which bears a Brothers Amati label, retains its original, Baroque set up.  An old, minor repair is barely visible at the junction of the neck and the top of the belly.

Click here to access an index of all available digital images of this instrument.


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A technical drawing of this violin is available from the Gift Shop

A postcard of this violin is available from the Gift Shop

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Most recent update: March 1, 2014

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Pegbox, front Fingerboard Front, upper bouts Fingerboard Front, upper bouts Soundholes Upper bass corner Upper bouts Upper treble corner Front, lower bouts Front, lower bouts Tailpiece Lower bass corner Lower treble corner Soundholes Bottom rib Pegbox, treble side Neck, treble side Neck heel, treble side Treble side Tailpiece, treble side Treble side Bottom rib Pegbox, back Neck heel, back Pin at top of back Back, upper bouts Upper treble corner Upper bass corner Lower treble corner Lower bass corner Back, upper bouts Center of back Center of back Lower bouts, back Pin at bottom of back Bottom rib