. He was born in Italy, to a very famous family, known for its production of violins, otherwise known as the Stradivarius violin and worked in Cremona for the majority of his life. Although he was Italian, he would inscribe his violins with Latin slogans, hence, the violins became known as Antonius Stradivarius violins, or merely Stradivarius violins, rather than Stradivari violins. His mentor was believed to be Nicolo Amati, who also came from a very famous family of violin-makers.
Antonio Stradivari first began his business in the year of 1680. In the beginning of his career, his violins were not efficient and impeccable like those he made later on in his career, possibly during the years between 1698 and 1720. The reason why the Stradivarius violins are so expensive and famous, is because of the quality of their sound. Many musicians have not only owned the violins, but have preferred them over any other violin. The sound of these violins resonate beautifully, and produce very powerful tones. They are rich, refined, and deep in sound, and project very clearly over a distance. These violins are thought of as good-quality instruments, and musicians delight in playing them, for they are very easy to play on. They are responsive to the touch of a finger, and one does not feel like he or she needs to press firmly in order to produce a sound. Some of the Stradivarius violins differ in quality and sound, however. Not every single Stradivarius instrument sounds the exact same, or is as good as the other. There are some which are believed to be of better quality than others. No one truly knows exactly why the sound of the Stradivarius violins is so wonderful, but there are many theories as to what makes a violin a good violin. The quality of the wood is a definite factor, as well as the shape of the instrument, the thickness of the wooden plates that are placed in the belly and the back of the instrument, and the varnish of the wood. Even though no one really knows how exactly he formed his violins, or what methods he used, it can definitely be said that he incorporated advanced geometry and mathematics into his craftsmanship. He built over 1,100 instruments, but merely 650 of them survive today.
A Stradivarius violin made during the time period in which Antonio Stradivari lived is believed to be the most famous and expensive violins. If the violin was produced in the 1680’s, it could be worth more than hundreds of thousands of dollars today, if it were to be sold. If a violin was produced during the period between the early 1700’s up until 1720, otherwise known as the “golden period,” and the violin is in good condition, it is sold at very high prices. A violin produced during this period can be priced at over millions of dollars. Not many Stradivarius violins are sold however, for many of them are owned today by either musicians, or organizations and foundations such as the Stradivari Society. The highest price that a Stradivarius was sold for was $3,544,000, but this was merely the highest price bought at a public auction. The bidder’s was reported to be anonymous. This violin was called the Hammer, and was produced during the golden period, in the year 1707. Before it was sold at over three million dollars, the violin’s price was estimated to be no less than 1.5 million, and no more than 2.5 million dollars. But on May 16, 2006, the bidder bought the violin, and the bid was recorded into history as the highest price an individual has ever paid for the Stradivarius violin at a public auction. Private sales of Stradivarius violins have exceeded this price, however, so the Hammer remains merely the highest priced violin sold at a public sale.
Contributed by: Mohinder Pal Singh
Date: July 15, 2010