Monday, April 19, 2010
Antonio Stradivari was born in Cremona, Italy, sometime around 1644, but the exact date of his birth is unknown. His life spanned two centuries, and he died in 1737.
Antonio was an Italian luthier, a craftsman of stringed instruments. He also made violas, cellos, and at least one harp. The Latin form of his name, Stradivarius, refers to his violins. Antonio had six children by his first wife, and five by his second. His sons worked in the shop, and some of the signed Stradivarius violins are probably signed by his sons.
Antonio Stradivari may have studied under Amati, whose violins were highly prized during that time, more so than Antonio’s. The Stradivari alterations to the Amati models were what brought fame to Stradivari. He changed the arch, varied the thickness of the wood, and used more highly colored varnish, as well as other modifications.
Over the years, as his violins became prized, they were hidden, stolen, and sold, increasing in value with each passing decade.