The person credited with inventing the first modern violin was Andrea Amati. The first four-string violin was documented to have been created by Amati in 1577 and other documentations show that he created two, three-string violins between 1542 and 1546. It's worth noting, however, that violin-like instruments were depicted in the paintings of Gaudenzio Ferrari that are dated between 1529 and 1530, predating the instruments created by Amati.
In Ferrari's painting, "Madonna of the Orange Tree," a cherub can be seen playing a violin-like, bowed instrument with three strings that resembles a violin. Several years later, Ferrari painted a fresco that depicts what appears to be a cello, a viola and a violin. Ferrari's paintings were done in Northern Italy, a region that is believed to be where the violin originated.