•Includes many previously unpublished images, including new photography for all instruments and Cremona workshop tools, plus rare archive material, including an image of the Church of San Domenic, Stradivari's initial burial place.
Antonio Stradivari (c.1644-1737) is, perhaps, the only maker of violins who ranks alongside Van Gogh and Turner as an artist. A household name to many, he is associated with secret formulae and mystical processes ensuring that the world's greatest soloists seek his instruments. He also excites controversy. His birthplace is unknown. He may have been born in 1644, and even his apprenticeship to Nicola Amati is uncertain. He died rich and famous in Cremona in 1737. His instruments continued to increase in fame.
How did he create an instrument of such intrinsic beauty and powerful melody that it has been unsurpassed for over three centuries? This book is a landmark contribution to the existing literature on Stadivari. Twenty one of the world's finest and most beautiful violins are shown with insights into the Stradivari vision through the turbulent tales and examination of the mysterious qualities that contribute to the immortal reputation enjoyed by his instruments among players and audiences.
The foreword is by virtuoso violinist and Stradivarius player, James Ehnes. Essays are by world-renowned luthier and expert, Charles Beare, his son, Peter Beare; and the luthier and violin historian, Carlo Chiesa. Each entry details the stories of the instruments' provenance and their manufacture. Photography is by Tucker Densley, renown for this photographs of musical instruments. This publication catalogues a first-of-its kind exhibition at the Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford.