AskDefine | Define Stradivari

Dictionary Definition

Stradivari n : Italian violin maker who developed the modern violin and created violins of unequaled tonal quality (1644?-1737) [syn: Antonio Stradivari, Stradivarius, Antonius Stradivarius]

Extensive Definition

Antonio Stradivari (1644December 18, 1737) was an Italian luthier, a crafter of stringed instruments such as violins, cellos, guitars and harps. Stradivari is generally considered the most significant artisan in this field. The Latinized form of his surname, Stradivarius, as well as the colloquial, "Strad", is often used to refer to his instruments.


Stradivari is believed to have been born in the year 1644, although his exact birth date is not documented. He was born in Italy to Alessandro Stradivari and Anna Moroni. It is possible that in the years 1658 through 1664 he served as a pupil in workshops of Nicolò Amati, though there is much evidence to dispute this fact.
In 1680 Stradivari settled himself in the Piazza San Domenico, Cremona, and his fame as an instrument-maker was quickly established. His originality began to show through his alterations of Amati's models. The arching was changed, the various degrees of thickness in the wood were more exactly determined, the formation of the scroll was altered, and the varnish was more highly coloured. His instruments are recognized by a characteristic inscription in Latin: Antonius Stradivarius Cremonensis Faciebat Anno [date] (This was made by Antonio Stradivari of Cremona, in the year...) It is generally acknowledged that his finest instruments were manufactured from 1698 to 1725 (peaking around 1715), exceeding in quality to those manufactured between 1725 and 1730. After 1730, some of the instruments are signed Sotto la Desciplina d'Antonio Stradivari F. in Cremona [date] and were probably made by his sons, Omobono and Francesco.
Apart from violins, Stradivari also made guitars, violas, cellos, and at least one harp — more than 1,101 instruments in all, by current estimates. Approximately 650 of these instruments survive today.
Antonio Stradivari died in Cremona, Italy on December 18, 1737 and was buried in the Basilica of San Domenico, in Cremona. The church was demolished in 1868, During this time, the removal of later pavement resulted in the discovery of the stone lid to the Stradivari family vault in the Chapel of the Rosary. It appears from contemporary accounts (Mandelli) that Antonio Stradivari's remains were unidentifiable.

Stradivarius instruments

Stradivari's instruments are regarded as amongst the finest stringed instruments ever created, are highly prized, and still played by professionals today. Only one other maker, Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesù, commands the same respect among violinists. Fashions in music, as in other things, have changed over the centuries, and the accepted supremacy of Stradivari's and del Gesù's instruments is only true today. In the past, instruments by Nicolò Amati and Jacob Stainer were preferred for their subtle sweetness of tone.
On May 16, 2006, Christie's auctioned a Stradivarius called The Hammer for a record US$3,544,000. It was, at that time, the most paid at public auction for any musical instrument. It was purchased by an anonymous telephone bidder. The previous record price paid at a public auction for a Stradivarius was US$2,032,000 for the Lady Tennant at Christie's in New York, April 2005. On April 2, 2007 Christie's sold a Stradivari violin for more than US$2.7 million, well above its estimate. The 1729 instrument, known as the Solomon, Ex-Lambert, went to an anonymous bidder in the auction house's fine musical instruments sale. Its price, US$2,728,000 including the Christie's commission, far outdid its estimated value: US$1 million to US$1.5 million. Private sales are often more accurate examples.
Other famous Stradivarius instruments are the Davidov Stradivarius, a cello currently owned and played by Yo-Yo Ma, and the Duport Stradivarius cello owned by Mstislav Rostropovich until his death in 2007. The Soil of 1714 is owned by virtuoso Itzhak Perlman. The Countess Polignac is currently played by Gil Shaham. The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra uses several Stradivarius 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.
While the usual label for a Stradivarius instrument, whether genuine or false, uses the traditional Latin inscription, after the McKinnley Tariff Act of 1891, 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 Stradivarius instruments, although this can be avoided by having an instrument authenticated.
The world's two largest publicly accessible collections of Stradivari instruments are those of the U.S. Library of Congress with three violins, a viola, and a cello, and the Agency of National Estates of Spain, 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). The collection of the The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra had the largest number of Stradivari in its string section, purchased in 2003 from the collection of Herbert R. Axelrod, until it recently decided to sell them off. The Vienna Philharmonic uses four violins and one cello. The University of South Dakota, in Vermillion, South Dakota, has in its collection one of two known Stradivari guitars, one of eleven known viola de gambas, later modified into a cello form, one of two known choral mandolins, and one of six Stradivari violins that still retain their original neck. The Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, England has on display a Stradivarius violin and a Stradivarius guitar.


Stradivari in Bosnian: Antonio Stradivari
Stradivari in Czech: Antonio Stradivari
Stradivari in Danish: Antonio Stradivari
Stradivari in German: Antonio Stradivari
Stradivari in Estonian: Antonio Stradivari
Stradivari in Spanish: Antonio Stradivari
Stradivari in Esperanto: Antonio Stradivari
Stradivari in French: Antonio Stradivari
Stradivari in Korean: 안토니오 스트라디바리
Stradivari in Icelandic: Antonio Stradivari
Stradivari in Italian: Antonio Stradivari
Stradivari in Hebrew: אנטוניו סטרדיווארי
Stradivari in Latin: Antonius Stradivarius
Stradivari in Latvian: Antonio Stradivāri
Stradivari in Lithuanian: Antonijus Stradivarijus
Stradivari in Hungarian: Antonio Stradivari
Stradivari in Dutch: Antonio Stradivari
Stradivari in Japanese: アントニオ・ストラディバリ
Stradivari in Norwegian: Antonio Stradivari
Stradivari in Occitan (post 1500): Antonio Stradivari
Stradivari in Polish: Antonio Stradivari
Stradivari in Portuguese: Antonius Stradivarius
Stradivari in Romanian: Antonio Stradivarius
Stradivari in Russian: Страдивари, Антонио
Stradivari in Slovak: Antonio Stradivari
Stradivari in Slovenian: Antonio Stradivari
Stradivari in Serbian: Антонио Страдивари
Stradivari in Finnish: Antonio Stradivari
Stradivari in Swedish: Antonio Stradivari
Stradivari in Chinese: 安东尼奥·斯特拉迪瓦里
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