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ANTONIO STRADIVARI (1644-1737)

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Originally appearing in Volume V25, Page 977 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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ANTONIO STRADIVARI (1644-1737), Italian violin-maker, is associated throughaut his life with Cremona, where he brought the craft of violin-making to its highest pitch of perfection. The obscure details of his life have been thoroughly worked out in the monograph on him by W. H Hill, A. F. Hill and Alfred Hill (1902). He was still a pupil of Nicolas Amati in 1666, when he had already begun to insert his own label on violins of his making, which at first follow the smaller Amati model, aolldly constructed, with a thick yellow varnish. It was nottih 1684 that he began to produce a larger model, using a deeper coloured varnish, and beautifying the instruments in various details, his " long " patterns (from 169o) representing a complete innovation in its proportions; while from 17oo, after for a few years returning to an earlier style, he again broadened and other-wise improved his model. He also made some beautiful violoncellos and violas. The most famous instruments by him are:—Violins: the " Hellier " (1679), the " Selliere " (before r68o), the " Tuscan " (169o), the " Betts " (1704), the" Ernst " (1709), " La Pucelle " (1709), the " Viotti " (1709), the " Vieuxtemps " (1710), the " Parke " (1711), the " Boissier " (1713), the "Dolphin " (1714), the " Gillot " (1715), the " Alard," the finest of all (1715), the " Cessot " (2716), the " Messiah " (1716), the " Sasserno " (1717), the " Maurin " (1718), the "Lauterbach" (1719), the " Blunt " (1721), the " Sarasate " (1724), the " Rode (1722), the " Deurbroucq " (1727), the " Kiesewetter " (1731), the " Habeneck " (1736), the " Muntz " (1736). Violas: the " Tuscan " (169o), two of 1696 formerly belonging to the king of Spain, the " Archinto " (1696), the " Macdonald " (1701), and the " Paganini " (1731). Violoncellos: the " Archinto (1689), the " Tuscan " (169o), the " Aylesford " (1696), the " Cristiani " (1700), the " Servais " (1701), the " Gore-Booth " (1710), the "Duport" (1711), the "Adam" (1713), the " Batta (1714), the " Piatti," the finest of all (1720), the " Bandiot (1725), the " Gallay " (1725). Antonio Stradivari's sons Francesco (1671–1743) and Omobono (1679–1742) were also violin-makers, who assisted their father, together with Carlo Bergonzi, who appears to have succeeded to the possession of Antonio's stock-in-trade. The Stradivari method of violin-making created a standard for subsequent times; but what is regarded as Antonio's special advantage, now irrecoverable, was his varnish, soft in texture, shading from orange to red, the composition of which has been much debated. (See also VIorzx.)
End of Article: ANTONIO STRADIVARI (1644-1737)
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