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"The Antonius" Violin

Antonio Stradivari (Italian, Cremona 1644–1737 Cremona)

Cremona, Italy
Maple, spruce, ebony
Label: 20.3 x 58.4cm (8 x 23in.)
Credit Line:
Bequest of Annie Bolton Matthews Bryant, 1933
Accession Number:
34.86.1 a
  • Description

    Antonio Stradivari (b. Cremona?, 1644?; d. Cremona, 1737) has long been thought to have been an apprentice of Nicolò Amati, but census documents do not list Stradivari as a garzone (shopboy) in the Amati household. Stradivari's early instruments do show the stylistic influence of the Amati, but as Girolamo II and Nicolò were the principal makers in Cremona during Stradivari's formative years, it would be natural for Stradivari to have been influenced by their work. Antonio Stradivari worked with two of his sons, Francesco (1671-1743) and Omobono (1679-1742), and today over 600 instruments survive from this prodigious workshop. Stradivari experimented with the shape and arching of the violin. By 1700 he abandoned this pattern and reverted to the broader shape that was typical of his earlier violins. These violins are sometimes referred to as "grand pattern" violins, but he actually made use of several large forms that varied slightly in dimensions and proportions. Stradivari employed flatter arching than his predecessors, and this contributed to the production of a more powerful tone. During the period from about 1700 to 1720, Stradivari produced many of his finest violins and this is known as his "Golden Period."

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Marking: (on label pasted inside body of violin) Antonious Stradiuarius Cremonensis/Faciebat Anno 1721 (or 1717). (Signed) F. A. Mayer, Violin expert

  • References

    "Guitar Heroes: Legendary Craftsmen from Italy to New York." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin (2011), pg. 42, ill.

    Written by. Archtop Guitars: The Journey from Cremona to New York. 2010 Graphis, Inc.. New York, 2010, pg. 26-27, ill.

    Musical Instruments of the Western World. McGraw Hill Book Company. New York, Toronto, 1967, pg. 184-186, fig. 70, ill.

  • See also