"The Francesca" Violin

Maker: Antonio Stradivari (Italian, Cremona 1644–1737 Cremona)

Date: 1694

Geography: Cremona, Italy

Culture: Italian (Cremona)

Medium: Maple, spruce, ebony, mother of pearl

Dimensions: Height: 23 in. (58.4 cm)
Width: 8 in. (20.3 cm)
Depth (at lower bout): 1 3/16 in. (3 cm)

Classification: Chordophone-Lute-bowed-unfretted

Credit Line: Bequest of Annie Bolton Matthews Bryant, 1933

Accession Number: 34.86.2a


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. In 1690 he devised a somewhat longer and narrower body outline that is referred to as the "long pattern." By 1700 he abandoned this pattern and reverted to the broader shape that was typical of his earlier violins.