Stradivari, Antonio

Stradivari, Antonio ăntōˈnēəs strădĭvârˈēəs [key], 1644–1737, Italian violin maker of Cremona; pupil of Niccolò Amati. He was apprenticed to Amati c.1658 and may have remained with him until Amati's death in 1684. Stradivari's earliest extant label is dated 1666 and his last 1737. His finest instruments were made after 1700. He produced at least 1,116 instruments, of which 540 violins, 12 violas, and 50 cellos were known. He also made fine viols, guitars, and mandolins. His workmanship brought the violin to perfection, and later artisans have tried to imitate his instruments. His commissions included those from James II of England and Charles III of Spain. Many of his instruments have acquired names, often for buyers or players, e.g., the violins the Paganini (1680), the Viotti (1709), the Lipinski (1715), and the Khevenhüller (1733) and the cello the Davidov (1712), now played by Yo-Yo Ma. Two of Stradivari's sons, Francesco Stradivari (1671–1743) and Omobono Stradivari (1679–1742), worked with him and continued the craft after his death, producing a number of fine instruments.

See studies by A. E. and W. H. Hill (1902) and H. K. Goodkind (1973); T. Faber, Stradivari's Genius (2005).

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