As fascinating as those two castles may be - in their own creepy way - Füssen is not without its own quiet charms. Aside from a really first class hotel - Hotel Sonne - and some excellent restaurants - Galleria Michelangelo, yes we went for Italian after all that schnitzel and spargal - and I swear the last Woolworth's in existence, it also has a charming fountain dedicated to one of its native sons.
|Caspar Tieffenbrucker was a member of a celebrated family of lute and violin makers who learned his craft in Füssen. He emigrated to Lyon and the design of the modern violin is thought to be his. In his Brief History of the Lute David Van Edwards remarks that in this portrait commissioned in 1562 Tieffenbrucker is surrounded by his instruments but significantly holds not a woodworking tool but a pair of calipers. Is he implying that geometry was the most important aspect of his craft?|
|German sculptor Joseph MIchael Neustifer created this tribute fountain to Caspar Tieffenbrucker in 1990. |
Largely dormant in the 19th-20th centuries lute and violin making had seen a Renaissance in Füssen in the
1980s. The fountain stands in front of Brotmarket 6 - the workshop of violin maker Achim Hofer.
Obviously modelled on the engraving by Pierre Woeiriot, Tieffenbrucer stands proudly in a square of his birthplace displaying a product of workmanship and a vital tool of his trade.
The mountain forests of the North Tyrol and the Ammer Mountains were ready sources of the spruce, maple and yew trees that the masters turned into lutes and violins as beautiful to look at as they were to hear. Situated on the Via Claudia, a former Roman road, Füssen was on a route, that until the 1950s, was the major connection between Augsburg and Venice. Though shallow the River Lech is navigable by raft and joins the Danube providing a trading route to Vienna and Budapest. By road or water merchants had easy - for the time - access to rich markets to the south-west and the north-east.
|I'm not sure why this small brass money purse is sitting on the edge of the fountain or what|
its significance is to the story of Tieffenbrucker or the lute makers of Füssen. Any guesses?
27 May - 1840: Niccolò Paganini, Italian violinist and composer dies.