Antonio Stradivari
Antonio Stradivari was an Italian
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

A luthier is someone who makes or repairs lutes and other string instruments. In the United States, the term is used interchangeably with a term for the specialty of each maker, such as violinmaker, guitar maker, lute maker, etc...

 and a crafter of string instrument
String instrument
A string instrument is a musical instrument that produces sound by means of vibrating strings. In the Hornbostel-Sachs scheme of musical instrument classification, used in organology, they are called chordophones...

s such as violin
The violin is a string instrument, usually with four strings tuned in perfect fifths. It is the smallest, highest-pitched member of the violin family of string instruments, which includes the viola and cello....

s, cello
The cello is a bowed string instrument with four strings tuned in perfect fifths. It is a member of the violin family of musical instruments, which also includes the violin, viola, and double bass. Old forms of the instrument in the Baroque era are baryton and viol .A person who plays a cello is...

s, guitar
The guitar is a plucked string instrument, usually played with fingers or a pick. The guitar consists of a body with a rigid neck to which the strings, generally six in number, are attached. Guitars are traditionally constructed of various woods and strung with animal gut or, more recently, with...

s, violas, and harp
The harp is a multi-stringed instrument which has the plane of its strings positioned perpendicularly to the soundboard. Organologically, it is in the general category of chordophones and has its own sub category . All harps have a neck, resonator and strings...

s. Stradivari is generally considered the most significant artisan in this field. The Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

ized form of his surname, Stradivarius
The name Stradivarius is associated with violins built by members of the Stradivari family, particularly Antonio Stradivari. According to their reputation, the quality of their sound has defied attempts to explain or reproduce, though this belief is controversial...

, as well as the colloquial, "Strad", is often used to refer to his instruments. It is estimated that he made 1,000 to 1,100 instruments and that around 650 of these instruments have survived including 450 to 512 violins.

Family background and early life

Stradivari's ancestry consisted of notable citizens of Cremona
Cremona is a city and comune in northern Italy, situated in Lombardy, on the left bank of the Po River in the middle of the Pianura Padana . It is the capital of the province of Cremona and the seat of the local City and Province governments...

, dating back to at least the 12th or 13th century. The earliest mention of the family name, or a variation upon it, is in a land grant
Land grant
A land grant is a gift of real estate – land or its privileges – made by a government or other authority as a reward for services to an individual, especially in return for military service...

 dating from 1188. The origin of the name itself has several possible explanations; some sources say it is the plural of Stradivare, essentially meaning "toll
Toll road
A toll road is a privately or publicly built road for which a driver pays a toll for use. Structures for which tolls are charged include toll bridges and toll tunnels. Non-toll roads are financed using other sources of revenue, most typically fuel tax or general tax funds...

-man" in a Lombard
The Lombards , also referred to as Longobards, were a Germanic tribe of Scandinavian origin, who from 568 to 774 ruled a Kingdom in Italy...

 variety of Italian
Italian language
Italian is a Romance language spoken mainly in Europe: Italy, Switzerland, San Marino, Vatican City, by minorities in Malta, Monaco, Croatia, Slovenia, France, Libya, Eritrea, and Somalia, and by immigrant communities in the Americas and Australia...

, while others say that the form "de Strataverta" derives from "Strada averta", which, in a Cremonese dialect of Italian, means "open road".

Antonio's parents were Alessandro Stradivari, son of Giulio Cesare Stradivari, and Anna Moroni, daughter of Leonardo Moroni. They married on 30 August 1622, and had at least 3 children between 1623 and 1628: Giuseppe Giulio Cesare, Carlo Felice, and Giovanni Battista. The baptismal records of the Parish of S. Prospero then stop, and it is unknown whether they had any children from 1628 to 1644. This blank in the records may be due to the family leaving Cremona in response to war, famine, and plague in the city from 1628 to 1630, or the records may have been lost due to clerical reforms imposed by Joseph II
Joseph II, Holy Roman Emperor
Joseph II was Holy Roman Emperor from 1765 to 1790 and ruler of the Habsburg lands from 1780 to 1790. He was the eldest son of Empress Maria Theresa and her husband, Francis I...

 of Austria in 1788. The latter explanation is supported by the word Cremonensis (of Cremona) on many of Stradivari's labels, which suggests that he was born in the city instead of merely moving back there to work. Antonio was born in 1644, a fact deducible from later violins. However, there are no records or information available on his early childhood, and the first evidence of his presence in Cremona is the label of his oldest surviving violin from 1666.

Stradivari likely began an apprenticeship
Apprenticeship is a system of training a new generation of practitioners of a skill. Apprentices or protégés build their careers from apprenticeships...

 with Nicolò Amati
Nicolò Amati
Niccolò Amati was an Italian luthier from Cremona.-Biography:Nicolò Amati was the fifth son of Girolamo Amati and the grandson of Andrea Amati, the founder of the Amati Family of violin makers. Of all the Amati Family violins, those of Nicolò are often considered most suitable for modern playing...

 between the ages of 12 and 14, although a minor debate surrounds this fact. One of the only pieces of evidence supporting this is the label of his 1666 violin, which reads, "Alumnus Nicolai Amati, faciebat anno 1666". However, Stradivari did not repeatedly put Amati's name on his labels, unlike many of his other students. Stradivari's early violins actually bear less of a resemblance to those of Amati than his later instruments do. M. Chanot-Chardon, a well-known French luthier, asserted that his father had a label of Stradivari's stating, "Made at the age of thirteen, in the workship of Nicolò Amati". This label has never been found or confirmed. Amati would also have been a logical choice for Antonio's parents, as he represented an old family of violin makers in Cremona, and was far superior to most other luthiers in Italy.

An alternative theory is that Stradivari started out as a woodworker: the house he lived in from 1667 to 1680 was owned by Francesco Pescaroli, a woodcarver and inlayer. Stradivari may even have been employed to decorate some of Amati's instruments, without being a true apprentice. This theory is supported by some of Stradivari's later violins, which have elaborate decorations and purfling
Purfling is a narrow binding inlaid into the edges of the top and often bottom plates of stringed instruments. Purfling serves to reinforce the plates and prevent cracking along their edges....


Assuming that Stradivari was a student of Amati, he would have begun his apprenticeship in 1656–58 and produced his first decent instruments in 1660, at the age of 16. His first labels were printed from 1660 to 1665, which indicates that his work had reached a quality sufficiently high enough for him to offer it directly to his patrons. However, he probably stayed in Amati's workshop until about 1684, so as to use his master's reputation as a launching point for his career.

Marriage and early career

Stradivari married his first wife, Francesca Feraboschi, on 4 July 1667. Francesca was the young widow of the burgher Giacomo Capra, with whom she had two children, and who had been shot by Francesca's brother on the Piazza Garibaldi (formerly the Piazza Santa Agata). After their marriage, Stradivari moved into a house known as the Casa del Pescatore, or the Casa Nuziale, in his wife's parish
A parish is a territorial unit historically under the pastoral care and clerical jurisdiction of one parish priest, who might be assisted in his pastoral duties by a curate or curates - also priests but not the parish priest - from a more or less central parish church with its associated organization...

. The couple had a daughter, Giulia Maria, three to four months later. They remained in this house until 1680, during which time they had four more children: Catterina, Francesco, Alessandro, and Omobono, as well as an infant son who lived for only a week.

Stradivari did not "flash forth as a brilliant genius" as is often said, but more likely developed his own style slowly. His violins often used slightly smaller dimensions, and he obviously doubted whether the "Grand Amati" patterns actually led to a greater tone. A notable exception to this is the 1697 Hellier
Hellier Stradivarius
The Hellier Stradivarius of circa 1679 is a violin made by Antonio Stradivari of Cremona, Italy. It derives its name from the Hellier family, who might well have bought it directly from the luthier himself....

violin, which had much larger proportions. Stradivari's early (pre-1684) violins are in strong contrast to Amati's instruments from the same time period; Stradivari's have a stronger, more masculine build, and less rounded curves, with the purfling
Purfling is a narrow binding inlaid into the edges of the top and often bottom plates of stringed instruments. Purfling serves to reinforce the plates and prevent cracking along their edges....

 set farther in.

By 1680, Stradivari had acquired at least a small, yet growing, reputation. In 1682, a Venetian
Republic of Venice
The Republic of Venice or Venetian Republic was a state originating from the city of Venice in Northeastern Italy. It existed for over a millennium, from the late 7th century until 1797. It was formally known as the Most Serene Republic of Venice and is often referred to as La Serenissima, in...

 banker ordered a complete set of instruments, to be presented to King James II of England. The fate of these instruments is unknown. Cosimo de' Medici
Cosimo de' Medici
Còsimo di Giovanni degli Mèdici was the first of the Medici political dynasty, de facto rulers of Florence during much of the Italian Renaissance; also known as "Cosimo 'the Elder'" and "Cosimo Pater Patriae" .-Biography:Born in Florence, Cosimo inherited both his wealth and his expertise in...

 bought another five years later. Amati died in 1684, an event which was followed by a noticeable increase in Stradivari's production. The years 1684 and 1685 also marked an important development in his style — the dimensions he used generally increased, and his instruments were more in the style of Amati's work of the 1640s and 1650s. Stradivari's instruments underwent no major change in the next five years, although in 1688 he began cutting a more distinct bevel
A beveled edge refers to an edge of a structure that is not perpendicular to the faces of the piece. The words bevel and chamfer overlap in usage; in general usage they are often interchanged, while in technical usage they may sometimes be differentiated as shown in the image at right.-Cutting...

 and began outlining the heads of instruments in black, a quite original improvement.

Stradivari's early career is marked by wide experimentation, and his instruments during this period are generally considered of a lesser quality than his later work. However, the precision with which he carved the heads and inserted the purfling quickly marked him as one of the most dextrous craftsmen in the world, a prime example of this being the 1690 "Tuscan" violin. Pre-1690 instruments are sometimes termed "Amatisé" but this is not completely accurate; it is largely because Stradivari created many more instruments later on that people try to connect his early work with Amati's style.

Stradivari moved out of the Casa Nuziale by 1680, and purchased a house now known as No. 1 Piazza Roma (formally No. 2 Piazza San Domenico). The house was just doors away from those of several other violin making families of Cremona, including the Amatis and Guarneris. Stradivari probably worked in the loft and attic, and he stayed in this house for the rest of his life. Stradivari's wife Francesca died on 20 May 1698, and received an elaborate funeral five days later.

"Golden" period and later years

In the early 1690s, Stradivari made a pronounced departure from this earlier style of instrument-making, changing two key elements of his instruments. First, he began to make violins with a larger pattern than previous instruments, which are usually dubbed "Long Strads". He also switched to using a darker, richer varnish, as opposed to a yellower varnish similar to that used by Amati. He continued to use this pattern until 1698, with few exceptions. After 1698, he abandoned the Long Strad model and returned to a slightly shorter model, which he used until his death. The period from 1700 until the 1720s is often termed the "golden period" of his production. Instruments made during this time are usually considered of a higher quality than his earlier instruments. Late-period instruments made from the late 1720s until his death in 1737 show signs of Stradivari's advancing age. These late instruments may be a bit less beautiful than the Golden Period instruments, but many nonetheless possess a fine tone.

Stradivari married his second wife, Zambelli Costa, on 24 August 1699. They had five children from 1700 to 1708—Francesca Maria, Giovanni Battista Giuseppe, Giovanni Battista Martino, Giuseppe Antonio, and Paolo. Stradivari died on 18 December 1737. He is buried in the Church of San Domenico.

Stradivarius instruments

Stradivari's instruments are regarded as amongst the finest bowed stringed instruments ever created, are highly prized, and are still played by professionals today. Only one other maker, Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesù
Giuseppe Guarneri
Bartolomeo Giuseppe Antonio Guarneri, del Gesù was an Italian luthier from the Guarneri house of Cremona. He rivals Antonio Stradivari with regard to the respect and reverence accorded his instruments, and he has been called the finest violin maker of the Amati line...

, commands a similar respect among violinists. However, neither blind listening tests nor acoustic analysis have ever demonstrated that Stradivarius instruments are better than other high-quality instruments or even reliably distinguishable from them.

Fashions in music, as in other things, have changed over the centuries, and the supremacy of Stradivari's and Guarneri's instruments is accepted only today. In the past, instruments by Nicolò Amati
Nicolò Amati
Niccolò Amati was an Italian luthier from Cremona.-Biography:Nicolò Amati was the fifth son of Girolamo Amati and the grandson of Andrea Amati, the founder of the Amati Family of violin makers. Of all the Amati Family violins, those of Nicolò are often considered most suitable for modern playing...

 and Jacob Stainer
Jacob Stainer
Jacob Stainer was the earliest and best known Austrian luthier.Stainer was born in Absam, Austria. His designs influenced instrument construction in Germany, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, parts of Italy, and several other countries....

 were preferred for their subtle sweetness of tone.

While the usual label for a Stradivarius instrument, whether genuine or false, uses the traditional Latin inscription, after the McKinley Tariff Act of 1890, copies were also inscribed with the country of origin. Since thousands of instruments are based on Stradivari's models and bear the same name as his models, many unwary people are deceived into purchasing forged
Forgery is the process of making, adapting, or imitating objects, statistics, or documents with the intent to deceive. Copies, studio replicas, and reproductions are not considered forgeries, though they may later become forgeries through knowing and willful misrepresentations. Forging money or...

 Stradivarius instruments, which can be avoided by having an instrument authenticated
Violin Authentication
Violin authentication is the process of determining the maker and date of a violin. Multiple references may be required to assist in the process of authentication...


Many violinists and cellists use Stradivari instruments in their work. Yo-Yo Ma
Yo-Yo Ma
Yo-Yo Ma is an American cellist, virtuoso, and orchestral composer. He has received multiple Grammy Awards, the National Medal of Arts in 2001 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011...

 currently uses the Davidov Stradivarius
Davidov Stradivarius
The Davidov Stradivarius , is an antique cello fabricated in 1712 by Italian luthier Antonio Stradivari of Cremona, Italy. It is very similar in construction and form to the equally famed Duport Stradivarius built a year earlier and played by Mstislav Rostropovich until his death in 2007...

, Julian Lloyd Webber
Julian Lloyd Webber
Julian Lloyd Webber is a British solo cellist who has been described as the "doyen of British cellists".-Early life:Julian Lloyd Webber is the second son of the composer William Lloyd Webber and his wife Jean Johnstone . He is the younger brother of the composer Andrew Lloyd Webber...

 employs the Barjansky Stradivarius
Barjansky Stradivarius
The Barjansky Stradivarius of c.1690 is an antique cello fabricated by the Italian Cremonese luthier Antonio Stradivari . The Barjansky is named after Russian cellist Alexandre Barjansky, who played the instrument during the first half of the twentieth century...

, and, until his death in 2007, Mstislav Rostropovich
Mstislav Rostropovich
Mstislav Leopoldovich Rostropovich, KBE , known to close friends as Slava, was a Soviet and Russian cellist and conductor. He was married to the soprano Galina Vishnevskaya. He is widely considered to have been the greatest cellist of the second half of the 20th century, and one of the greatest of...

 played on the Duport Stradivarius
Duport Stradivarius
The Duport Stradivarius is a cello made in 1711 by Italian luthier Antonio Stradivari of Cremona. The instrument is named after Jean-Louis Duport, who played it around 1800. In 1812, Duport permitted Napoleon Bonaparte to handle it; a dent, still visible on the instrument, is said to have resulted...

. The Soil
Soil Stradivarius
The Soil Stradivarius of 1714 is an antique violin made by Italian luthier Antonio Stradivari of Cremona . A product of Stradivari’s golden period, it is considered one of his finest....

of 1714 is owned by virtuoso Itzhak Perlman
Itzhak Perlman
Itzhak Perlman is an Israeli-born violinist, conductor, and instructor of master classes. He is regarded as one of the pre-eminent violinists of the 20th and early-21st centuries.-Early life:...

. The Countess Polignac is currently played by Gil Shaham
Gil Shaham
-Biography:Gil Shaham was born in Urbana, Illinois, while his parents, Israeli scientists, were on an academic fellowship at the University of Illinois. His father Jacob was an astrophysicist, and his mother, Meira Diskin, was a cytogeneticist. His sister is the pianist Orli Shaham. He is a...

. The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
The Vienna Philharmonic is an orchestra in Austria, regularly considered one of the finest in the world....

 uses several Stradivari instruments that were purchased by the Österreichische Nationalbank (Austrian National Bank) and other sponsors: Chaconne, 1725; ex-Hämmerle, 1709; ex-Smith-Quersin, 1714; ex-Arnold Rose, ex-Viotti, 1718; and ex-Halphen, 1727.

On 21 June 2011, a 1721 Stradivari violin known as "Lady Blunt" was bought by an anonymous bidder for £9,808,000 ($15,932,115) with all proceeds going to help the victims of the Japan earthquake. This was over four times the previous auction record for a Stradivari violin. On 14 October 2010, a 1697 Stradivari violin known as "The Molitor
Molitor Stradivarius
The Molitor Stradivarius is an antique violin made by Italian luthier Antonio Stradivari of Cremona in 1697, the very beginning of the maker's celebrated "Golden" period...

" was sold online by Tarisio Auctions
Tarisio Auctions
- Tarisio Auctions :This is the main page for Tarisio Auctions, the online string instrument auction house. For the Italian violin collector, see Luigi Tarisio....

 for a world-record price of $3,600,000 to renowned concert violinist Anne Akiko Meyers
Anne Akiko Meyers
Anne Akiko Meyers is an American concert violinist. Meyers has toured and collaborated with a number of symphony orchestras and Il Divo, Chris Botti and Wynton Marsalis. Meyers tours with a 1730 Stradivarius violin called the 'Royal Spanish'...

. The price was the highest on record for any musical instrument sold at auction. On 16 May 2006, Christie's
Christie's is an art business and a fine arts auction house.- History :The official company literature states that founder James Christie conducted the first sale in London, England, on 5 December 1766, and the earliest auction catalogue the company retains is from December 1766...

 auctioned Stradivari's 1707 Hammer
Hammer Stradivarius
The Hammer Stradivarius is an antique violin made by Italian luthier Antonio Stradivari of Cremona. The back measures 36 cm, bearing the label inside: "Antonius Stradivarius Cremonensis/Faciebat Anno 1707"...

for a then-record of US$
United States dollar
The United States dollar , also referred to as the American dollar, is the official currency of the United States of America. It is divided into 100 smaller units called cents or pennies....

3,544,000. The previous record price paid at a public auction for a Stradivari was $2,032,000 for the Lady Tennant
Lady Tennant Stradivarius
The Lady of Tennant-Lafont Stradivarius is an antique violin made by the Italian luthier Antonio Stradivari of Cremona in 1699, one year before the beginning of his so-called 'golden' period....

at Christie's in New York, April 2005. On 2 April 2007, Christie's sold a Stradivari violin, the 1729 Solomon, Ex-Lambert, for more than $2.7 million to an anonymous bidder in the auction house's fine musical instruments sale. Its price, $2,728,000 including the Christie's commission, far outdid its estimated value: $1 million to $1.5 million. The London sales of The Mendelssohn at £902,000 ($1,776,940) in 1990 and The Kreutzer for £947,500 ($1,591,800) in 1998 constitute the other two top selling Stradivari.

Publicly displayed collections of Stradivari instruments are those of the U.S. Library of Congress with three violins, a viola, and a cello, the Agency of National Estates of Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

, with a quartet of two violins, the Spanish I and II, the Spanish Court cello, and the Spanish Court viola, exhibited in the Music Museum at the Palacio Real de Madrid (Royal Palace) and the Royal Academy of Music
Royal Academy of Music
The Royal Academy of Music in London, England, is a conservatoire, Britain's oldest degree-granting music school and a constituent college of the University of London since 1999. The Academy was founded by Lord Burghersh in 1822 with the help and ideas of the French harpist and composer Nicolas...

's Collections with several instruments by Antonio Stradivari, including the Joachim (1698), Rutson (1694), the Crespi (1699), Viotti ex-Bruce (1709), Kustendyke (1699), Maurin (1718) and the Ex Back (1666) violins, Ex Kux (1714), and the Archinto (1696) violas, the Marquis de Corberon (1726) and the Markevitch (1709) celli.

The collection of The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra
New Jersey Symphony Orchestra
The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra is a symphony orchestra located in the state of New Jersey, United States. Philip James founded the orchestra in 1922. The orchestra is headquartered in Newark, New Jersey. Neeme Järvi, the NJSO's music director from 2005 to 2009, is currently the orchestra's...

 had the largest number of Stradivari in its string section, purchased in 2003 from the collection of Herbert R. Axelrod
Herbert R. Axelrod
Herbert Richard Axelrod is a tropical fish expert, publisher of pet books, and entrepreneur. In 2005 he was sentenced in U.S. court to 18 months in prison for tax fraud.-Early life:...

, until it recently decided to sell them off. A collection assembled by Rodman Wanamaker
Rodman Wanamaker
Lewis Rodman Wanamaker was a Republican and was a Presidential Elector for Pennsylvania in 1916. Wanamaker created aviation history by financing a two plane experimental seaplane class in response to a prize contest announcement by London's The Daily Mail newspaper in 1913 – the flying boat...

 in the 1920s contained as many as 65 stringed instruments by such masters as Stradivari, Gofriller, Baptiste and Giuseppe Guarneri. Included was The Swan, the last violin made by Stradivari, and soloist instrument of the great Cuban 19th century virtuoso Joseph White. The collection, known as The Cappella, was used in concerts with the Philadelphia Orchestra
Philadelphia Orchestra
The Philadelphia Orchestra is a symphony orchestra based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in the United States. One of the "Big Five" American orchestras, it was founded in 1900...

 and Leopold Stokowski
Leopold Stokowski
Leopold Anthony Stokowski was a British-born, naturalised American orchestral conductor, well known for his free-hand performing style that spurned the traditional baton and for obtaining a characteristically sumptuous sound from many of the great orchestras he conducted.In America, Stokowski...

 before being dispersed after Wanamaker's death. The Vienna Philharmonic uses four violins and one cello. The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is a renowned art museum in New York City. Its permanent collection contains more than two million works, divided into nineteen curatorial departments. The main building, located on the eastern edge of Central Park along Manhattan's Museum Mile, is one of the...

 has three Stradivari violins dated 1693, 1694 and 1717. The National Music Museum
National Music Museum
The National Music Museum: America's Shrine to Music & Center for Study of the History of Musical Instruments is a musical instrument museum in Vermillion, South Dakota, USA. It was founded in 1973 on the campus of the University of South Dakota...

, in Vermillion, South Dakota
Vermillion, South Dakota
Vermillion is a city in and the county seat of Clay County, in the southeastern corner of the U.S. state of South Dakota, and the tenth largest city in the state. According to the 2010 Census, the population was 10,571. Vermillion lies atop a bluff near the Missouri River.The area has been home to...

, has in its collection one of two known Stradivari guitars, one of eleven known viola da gambas
The viol is any one of a family of bowed, fretted and stringed musical instruments developed in the mid-late 15th century and used primarily in the Renaissance and Baroque periods. The family is related to and descends primarily from the Renaissance vihuela, a plucked instrument that preceded the...

, later modified into a cello form, one of two known choral mandolin
A mandolin is a musical instrument in the lute family . It descends from the mandore, a soprano member of the lute family. The mandolin soundboard comes in many shapes—but generally round or teardrop-shaped, sometimes with scrolls or other projections. A mandolin may have f-holes, or a single...

s, and one of six Stradivari violins that still retain their original neck. In the interests of conservation, the Messiah Stradivarius
Messiah Stradivarius
The Messiah-Salabue Stradivarius of 1716 is a violin made by Italian luthier Antonio Stradivari of Cremona. It is considered to be the only Stradivarius in existence in as new state....

violin—on display in the Ashmolean Museum
Ashmolean Museum
The Ashmolean Museum on Beaumont Street, Oxford, England, is the world's first university museum...

 in Oxford, England—has not been played at all in recent years.

In fiction

In Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Arthur Conan Doyle
Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle DL was a Scottish physician and writer, most noted for his stories about the detective Sherlock Holmes, generally considered a milestone in the field of crime fiction, and for the adventures of Professor Challenger...

's stories, Sherlock Holmes
Sherlock Holmes
Sherlock Holmes is a fictional detective created by Scottish author and physician Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The fantastic London-based "consulting detective", Holmes is famous for his astute logical reasoning, his ability to take almost any disguise, and his use of forensic science skills to solve...

 owns and plays a Stradivari violin.

In 1987, the Soviet detective television mini-series Visit to Minotaur used Stradivari's life story as a parallel to the main storyline, which featured an investigation into the theft of a Stradivari violin in Moscow in the early 1980s. The original Stradivarius violin that appears in the series belonged to David Oistrach. Coincidentally, in May 1996, nine years after the series was made, this violin was stolen from Moscow's Museum of Musical Culture. It was successfully recovered in 2001.

The 1989, Italian TV movie biopic, Stradivari, was filmed in Cremona, directed by Giacomo Battiato
Giacomo Battiato
Giacomo Battiato is an Italian film director and writer.According to “The History Of The Italian Cinema”, published in 2009 in US and in England by Princeton University Press: “GIACOMO BATTIATO is one of the most erudite and flexible directors of his generation. A cultural organizer, he has also...

, and starred Anthony Quinn
Anthony Quinn
Antonio Rodolfo Quinn-Oaxaca , more commonly known as Anthony Quinn, was a Mexican American actor, as well as a painter and writer...

 as Antonio, Lorenzo Quinn
Lorenzo Quinn
Lorenzo Quinn is an Italian sculptor and former actor, and the fifth son of actor Anthony Quinn.-Biography:Quinn was born in Rome, Italy and is the son of the Mexican American actor Anthony Quinn and Iolanda Quinn . Quinn was raised in both the United States and Italy and presently lives in...

 as Young Antonio and Stefania Sandrelli
Stefania Sandrelli
Stefania Sandrelli is an Italian actress, famous for her many roles in the commedia all'Italiana, starting from 1960s. She was 15 years old when she starred in Divorce, Italian Style, as Marcello Mastroianni's cousin, Angela.She was born in Viareggio, Tuscany. She had a long relationship with...

 as his second wife Zambelli.

The film The Red Violin
The Red Violin
The Red Violin is a 1998 Canadian drama film directed by François Girard. It spans three centuries and five countries as it tells the story of a mysterious violin and its many owners...

was inspired by one of Stradivari's violins, the Red Mendelssohn (1721), which is currently played by Elizabeth Pitcairn
Elizabeth Pitcairn
Elizabeth Pitcairn is an American classical violinist. She has concertized widely as a soloist and is noted for performing on the Antonio Stradivari violin that is said to have inspired the film The Red Violin.-Childhood:...

, heiress to the PPG Industries
PPG Industries
PPG Industries is a global supplier of paints, coatings, optical products, specialty materials, chemicals, glass and fiber glass. With headquarters in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, PPG operates in more than 60 countries around the globe. Sales in 2010 were $13.4 billion...

 fortune, whose grandfather purchased it for her 16th birthday for $1.7 million at auction at Christie's London
Christie's is an art business and a fine arts auction house.- History :The official company literature states that founder James Christie conducted the first sale in London, England, on 5 December 1766, and the earliest auction catalogue the company retains is from December 1766...

. She is one of the few soloists who performs the Red Violin Chaconne composed for the film by John Corigliano
John Corigliano
John Corigliano is an American composer of classical music and a teacher of music. He is a distinguished professor of music at Lehman College in the City University of New York.-Biography:...

. The notion that the fictional violin is red because it is painted with the blood of the maker's wife, who died during childbirth, is a creation of the filmmaker and is yet unsubstantiated. The real violin is called "The Red Mendelssohn" because of a unique red stripe on its top right side, but how the stripe came about is unknown.

In the Broadway musical Urinetown
Urinetown: The Musical is a satirical comedy musical, with music by Mark Hollmann, lyrics by Hollmann and Greg Kotis, and book by Kotis. It satirizes the legal system, capitalism, social irresponsibility, populism, bureaucracy, corporate mismanagement, and municipal politics...

a Stradivari instrument is briefly mentioned in a single line, "Play it on your / Stradivari / He's not sorry / Not a shred!" as a high-status, political symbol.

In the second installment of the Final Fantasy Tactics Advance
Final Fantasy Tactics Advance
is a tactical role-playing game developed and published by Square for the Nintendo Game Boy Advance. A spin-off of the popular Final Fantasy series, the game shares several traits with 1997's Final Fantasy Tactics, although it is not a direct sequel. The player assembles a clan of characters, and...

video game series, Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift
Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift
is a tactical role-playing game developed and published by Square Enix for the Nintendo DS handheld game console.Grimoire of the Rift is the sequel to Final Fantasy Tactics Advance as well as an iteration in the Ivalice Alliance.- Gameplay :...

, Stradivari is a wood used to create the items Edaroya Scriptures, Sage's Robe, and Faerie Shoes.

In the video game Fallout 3
Fallout 3
Fallout 3 is an action role-playing game released by Bethesda Game Studios, and the third major installment in the Fallout series. The game was released in North America, Europe and Australia in October 2008, and in Japan in December 2008 for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360...

, the player is tasked with retrieving the Soil Stradivari (Itzhak Perlman
Itzhak Perlman
Itzhak Perlman is an Israeli-born violinist, conductor, and instructor of master classes. He is regarded as one of the pre-eminent violinists of the 20th and early-21st centuries.-Early life:...

's current violin) from a vault.

Episode 36 of the anime series Detective School Q
Detective School Q
is a manga series, written by Tadashi Agi and illustrated by Fumiya Satō, originally serialized in Kodansha's Weekly Shōnen Magazine between 2001 and 2005, spanning 22-tankōbon volumes...

  deals with a mystery involving a violin, which is mentioned to be 'Superior to the famed Stradivarius'.

See also

  • Amati
    Amati is the name of a family of Italian violin makers, who flourished at Cremona from about 1549 to 1740.-Andrea Amati:Andrea Amati was not the earliest maker of violins whose instruments still survive today...

  • Giuseppe Guarneri
    Giuseppe Guarneri
    Bartolomeo Giuseppe Antonio Guarneri, del Gesù was an Italian luthier from the Guarneri house of Cremona. He rivals Antonio Stradivari with regard to the respect and reverence accorded his instruments, and he has been called the finest violin maker of the Amati line...

  • List of Stradivarius instruments
  • W.E. Hill & Sons

External links



Historical Books

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