Amati (ämäˈtē) [key], Italian family of violinmakers of Cremona. The founder of the Cremona school was Andrea Amati (c.1520–c.1578), whose earliest violins date from c.1564. His labels bore the name Amadus, and he is credited with the basic design of the modern violin. His sons were Antonio Amati and Girolamo or Geronimo Amati, who worked together and followed closely their father's patterns in making violins of graceful shape and sweet tone. The Amati instruments had a characteristic amber-colored varnish. Niccolò Amati (1596–1684), son of Girolamo, brought the Amati violin to its height after c.1645. Antonio Stradivari and Andrea Guarneri were pupils of Niccolò. Niccolò's son, Girolamo (1649–1740), was the last of his line to achieve distinction. The Latin forms of the first names, Andreas, Antonius, Hieronymus, and Nicolaus, were generally used on the violin labels, and the family name was sometimes Latinized as Amatus.
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