A Timeline history of the Violin Bow - from c. 1600 - 1800

... the sources in detail ...

Arcangelo Corelli (Italy, 1653 - 1713)

attributed to Cesare Gennari (1637 - 88)

This painting, sold at auction in 2022, is attributed to Cesare Gennari (nephew and pupil of Guercino), is thought to be dated about 1670, and believed to be none other than Arcangelo Corelli himself! I can say nothing about the attributions - not my areas of expertise - but the portrait certainly has similarities to the well-known later portraits of Corelli. In any case, it is fascinating and informative for many reasons. A rather low position for the violin (quite typical for the 17th century, but quite an eye-opener to think that Corelli might have played like that), a rather old-fashioned bridge, set quite far back (around the bottom of the f-holes, a plain gut G-string - and look at that bow (and bow hold - relatively high up the bow, thumb on the stick, and only two fingers on the bow!) Assuming around 20.6cm for the violins lower bouts, then the bow is around 64 cm long (longer than many depictions from around this time, apparently (as far as one can see) has the frog quite high up the stick (about 4 cm from the end of the bow - if indeed the bow ends at the edge of the portrait - and has a rather elegantly swung tip.

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