For the second post in my series relating to my recent visit to the musical instrument room at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, I will focus on the "ex Kurtz" violin, is one of the oldest surviving violins, made in the 16th century by Andrea Amati, who is the earliest of the great Cremonese violinmakers and is often credited with creating and defining the violin's form.
As you will see in the photos below, the sides of the "ex Kurtz" violin are embellished with the motto "QUO UNICO PROPUGNACULO STAT STABITQUE RELIGO" (that religion is and always shall be the only fortress), and the back of the instrument is decorated with fleurs-de-lis in the corners and with a coat of arms in the middle of the back. There are seven Amati violins with the same coat of arms, which is believed to be that of Philip II of Spain. It is speculated that this violin was part of a set of instruments created as a gift for the marriage of Phillp II to Elizabeth of Valois in 1559.
The provenance of this violin can be traced from the late 1800s. From 1937 to 1940, the violin was owned by Harry Wahl, a Finnish sailor and businessman who held an extraordinary collection of instruments. The Metropolitan Museum of Art purchased it from Robert Alonzo Lehman in 1999. A full provenance can be found by clicking here.
Body length: 352.6 mm
Lower bouts: 201.5 mm
Upper bouts: 161.2 mm
Center bouts: 107.5 mm
The following video from the Met's YouTube channel highlights the sound of the violin:
Click the following link to hear an audio sample of the violin: Prelude from Select Preludes & Vollentarys for the Violin by Nicola Cosimi (fl. ca. 1708)
The following are several photos that I captured while visiting the Met, followed by links to professional photos of the violin on the Met's website: