Lupot's Dichromatic Stain


  • Michael R. Molnar Retired


Dichromatism, Stain, Casein


Optical dichromatism is commonly seen on varnished violins but poorly understood and misidentified. A dichromatic stain used by Nicolas Lupot (1758–1824) nicely helps to explain this optical phenomenon. Moreover, it shows why a proteinaceous medium is needed not only to transport and control the stain but also to protect it from oxidation and light a true binder.


Author Biography

Michael R. Molnar, Retired

Michael Molnar is a retired astrophysicist who started making violins in 2004. He has articles in The Strad on CNC techniques for violin making and optical effects in varnishes. Mike has attended the Oberlin Acoustics Workshop and the Repair Workshop. He also participated in Marilyn Wallin’s Setup Workshop and two of Joe Robson’s Varnish Workshops. Most recently, he was in Joe Thrift’s Workshop at the William Mason II Violin Shop. Mike is a contributor to the Maestronet online forum and a member of the VSA to which he has made presentations on optical effects in wood and varnish. He is also active with the Violin Makers Association of Arizona International (VMAAI), participating in competitions and writing articles for their newsletter. To date, he has made over 30 violins and is still learning.




How to Cite

Molnar, M. R. (2024). Lupot’s Dichromatic Stain. Violin Society of America Papers, 29(1), 19–30. Retrieved from