Violin making in the 21st century has reached a crucial point. Never in history has there been such an abundance of precise and valuable data so easily accessible to makers. By the medium of Internet, violin making schools, luthiers conferences and books which never before existed, the general quality of independent makers has risen remarkably together with their numbers. Unlike the first luthiers, for today's violin makers it is possible to either reproduce precise copies of original instruments, down to the smallest detail, or to create the fruits of their imagination within strict limitations.
This frame of possibilities resembles in many ways to Christian Icon paintings of Eastern Orthodoxy and of the Early Medieval West. Strict laws predetermine the positioning of the figures, their posture, dimensions, expressions and color. Like musical instruments they do not only have an aesthetic quality but also a functional one; being a means of spiritual communion between the heavenly and earthly realms.
As in violin making, Icon painting had various product qualities, from mass produced icons to masterpieces of the highest degree. Painters that succeeded to overcome the obstacle of routinely recreating the same scenes, in the identical manner and style as was done before and during their time, are very few. Despite the severe system of rules dictating their work these unique artists produced compositions of astounding originality and freedom.
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