VIOLINS: A Stradivarius or just Stradi various?
Let's take a look at the myth
The most common misnomer of a musical type we encountered on the British Roadshow tours of Canada, was the inclination of the greater Canadian public to have at the top of their wish list, absolute belief in the fact that the label inside their Stradivarius violin means that the violin was made personally by the man on the right back in the 1700's -
A chap called Antonius Stradivari !
He was an Italian craftsman of immense skill and is arguably the greatest luthier violin maker of all time.
Antonio Stradivari in his workshop; Artist- Edgar Bundy British1862-1922:
Standard Stradivarius printed label which appears in all copies.
Antonius Stradivarius Cremonen fis faciebat anno 1746
^ The Hammer Stradivarius violin, (above) measures 36cm and bears the label inside:.Dating from 1707, It was made during Stradivari's 'golden' period.
The Stardivari Hammer violin was so called as it was once owned by a Swedish collector Christian Hammer who is the first recorded owner. Latterly it found its way the United States and into the ownership of a music teacher, Bernard Sinsheimer but in 1992, it was acquired by a Japanese oil company.
It is common knowledge that the leading auctioneers Christies hold the world record price realised for any musical instrument when they sold this violin in London called the Hammer, built by Stradivari in 1707 for a whopping $3,544,000 MILLION dollars back in 2006. The previous record price paid at a public auction for a Stradivarius violin was US $2,032,000 for the Lady Tennant was also at Christie's in New York in April 2005
With that sort of figure on your mind, the majority of people we see are convinced that their priceless Staradivarius instrument is one of the long lost Stradivarius instruments and unseen for centuries.
But what we actually see is one of these and this puppy is a different breed altogether!
Stradivarius factory made Czechoslovakian copy:
Now that little label ' Antonius Stradivarius Cremonensis / Faciebat Anno 1707' has a lot to answer for as it is about the biggest confuser of common logic and builder of high hopes and dreams that there is.
Maybe the best way to help you understand the truth is by simple analogy.
The heart stopper.
A modern Stradivarius label inside a violin made in Germany
Tens of thousands of violins were made throughout the 19th century in factories and workshops throughout Europe, all bearing the label of Stradivari.
These were not made as fakes or designed to deceive, they were just a recognition of type.
And it is to the McKinley Trade Act that we turn to thank its originators for their demands that each country of origin of any product to be exported to the USA or the trade act signer member states must carry the name and country of origin.
This gives us very clear and accurate dating information.
See the McKinley Trade Act Page:
|Images of Stradivari:|
The Stradivari House and roof top workshop in Cremona.
Now demolished and a park.
Portrait, 1681- Campi pinx. Cremona.
Engraving by Fred Hillemacher,c 1886
Antonio Stradivari examining an instrument, in a Romantic 19th - century print
The Stradivari Myth Analogy:
This is a photograph of the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley.
And below, this is a photograph of an Elvis Presley impersonator.
This one just like a real Stradivarius, worth millions.
This one isn't.
The Elvis impersonator plies his trade and is successful at it because Mr Presley was the King of rock and roll. Of Presley impersonators, there have been, will be and are, thousands of look alike's. Just like Stradivarius violin reproductions.
And the only time you know how good either are is when they sing !
Comparison number 2
The Mona Lisa by Leonardo Da VInci is arguably the most famous painting in the world.
Value ? It's Priceless.
Why? Because it is unique and Leonardo's original.
The 'Mona Geisha' by Yokohama von da Vinci.
Price - less!
Why: Because it isn't a da Vinci.
It is the Stradivarius design that is referred to on all labels which appear on the inside of violins made in the fashion of Stradivarius. It is a credit to the original designer and not proof positive that the violin was made in Cremona, Italy by the great man in the 1700's.
So there is your myth.
The Stradivarius violin design itself, masterminded and perfected by Antonio Stradivari was believed to be so perfect that he incorporated advanced geometry and mathematics into his violin building and prepared unique woods with secret chemical techniques including minerals such as potassium silicate, sodium, potassium borate and Bianca.
It is to this creative technology we look and in which it is believed to be the secret behind the distinctive mellow tones. Many experts believe that Stradivari used such secret methods which both enhanced the quality of the wood he used and thus the sound it created and itt is this special feature along with the fact that no two violins sound exactly alike which makes his violins so unique.
From his success as a violin maker, his instruments became world famous with only the best musicians, the most noted personalities and wealthiest of collectors in ownership of the prized instruments.
For over 300 years now, luthiers, small violin makers and factories have used its design, proportion, scale and likeness to produce instruments for a broad market place the world over. Some with success, others with little or none at all.
Of type, brilliant Stradivarius variants have been made by innumerable luthiers throughout history and in a number of countries including Italy, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Germany, France, England and Bohemia. But so too, the have factories turned out violins for the general public, made inexpensively in Europe and available for music shops and department stores across the world from beginners sizes to three quarter and concert instruments.
The difficulty is in assessing whether you have a simple factory made violin or something more special.
For certain, as Stradivari only ever made a small number of instruments and only 650 are known to survive to date, the chances are around minus zero that you will have one of those you dream about. But if your violin doesn't have "made in Germany", "made in Czechoslovakia" or "made in France" printed or stamped on it , usually on the Stradivarius label inside and beneath the f shaped sound hole, or has the word copi or copy or the name of a country in the language of that country, you may have a small shop made violin of age worth some research.
It is true to say that given the vast number of violin makers who came after Stradivari, you may just be lucky and have quite a special violin after all.
David Freeman © 2008
The Freemanart Consultancy
A Stradivari violin known as the "Molitor", thought originally to belong to Napoleon Bonaparte, has sold on line at auction for a record $3.6 million.
CURRENT LIST OF THE ONLY KNOWN LEGITIMATE STRADIVARI ( Stradivarius ) VIOLINS IN THE WORLD
Stradivarius Violins are known today by nicknames which we call Sobriquets.
Stradivari violins are usually named after their current owner, their initial owner or someone famous who owned it.
The list is compiled by when the violin was built and by its year:
Only half of all Stradivarius output of violins are believed to have survived.
|Bach Stradivarius - 1666||Dushkin Stradivarius 1701||Lady Ley Stradivarius 1713|
|Dubois Stradivarius 1667||Markees Stradivarius 1701||Wirt Stradivarius 1713|
|Arnyi Stradivarius 1667||Irish Stradivarius 1702||Dolphin; Delfino Stradivarius 1714|
|Captain Saville Stradivarius 1667||Conte de Fontana; ex-Oistrakh Stradivarius 1701||Soil Stradivarius 1714|
|Amatese Stradivarius 1668||Lukens; Edler Voicu Stradivarius 1702||ex-Berou; ex-Thibaud Stradivarius 1714|
|Oistrakh Stradivarius 1671||King Maximilian Joseph Stradivarius 1702||Le Maurien Stradivarius 1714|
|Sellière Stradivarius 1672||Lyall Stradivarius 1702||Leonora Jackson Stradivarius 1714|
|Spanish Stradivarius 1678||Lord Newlands Stradivarius 1702||Massart Stradivarius 1714|
|Hellier Stradivarius 1679||La Rouse Boughton Stradivarius 1703||Sinsheimer; General Kyd; Perlman Stradivarius 1714|
|Paganini - Desaint Stradivari 1680||Antonio Stradivari 1703||Smith-Quersin Stradivarius 1714|
|Rin Kei Mei Stradivarius 1680||Allegretti Stradivarius 1703||Alard-Baron Knoop Stradivarius 1715|
|Reynier - Comte de Chesnais Stradivarius 1681||Alsager Stradivarius 1703||Baron Knoop; ex-Bevan Stradivarius 1715|
|Fleming Stradivarius 1681||Lady Harmsworth Stradivarius 1703||ex-Bazzini Stradivarius 1715|
|Bucher Stradivarius 1683||Emiliani Stradivarius 1703||Cremonese; ex-Harold; Joseph Joachim 1715|
|Cipriani Potter Stradivarius 1683||ex-Foulis Stradivarius 1703||Duke of Cambridge; ex-Pierre Rode Stradivarius 1715|
|Cobbett; ex-Holloway Stradivarius 1683||Betts Stradivarius 1704||Joachim Stradivarius 1715|
|Croall Stradivarius 1684||Sleeping Beauty Stradivarius 1704||Lipinski Stradivarius 1715|
|ex-Elphinstone Stradivarius 1684||ex-Marsick; ex-Oistrakh Stradivarius 1705||ex-Marsick Stradivarius 1715|
|ex-Arma Senkrah Stradivarius 1685||ex-Tadolini Stradivarius 1706||Titian Stradivarius 1715|
|ex-Castelbarco Stradivarius 1685||ex-Brüstlein Stradivarius 1707||Le Provigny Stradivarius 1716|
|Goddard Stradivarius 1686||La Cathédrale Stradivarius 1707||Cessole Stradivarius 1716|
|Ole Bull Stradivarius 1687||Hammer Stradivarius 1707||Berthier Stradivarius 1716|
|Mercur-Avery Stradivarius 1687||Le Davidoff Stradivarius 1708||Booth Stradivarius 1716|
|Auer Stradivarius 1689||Le Tua Stradivarius 1708||Colossus Stradivarius 1716|
|Arditi Stradivarius 1689||Burstein; Bagshawe Stradivarius 1708||Duranti Stradivarius 1716|
|Baumgartner Stradivarius 1689||Huggins Stradivarius 1708||Monasterio Stradivarius 1716|
|Spanish I Stradivarius 1689||Ruby Stradivarius 1708||Provigny Stradivarius 1716|
|Spanish II Stradivarius 1689||Strauss Stradivarius 1708||Messiah-Salabue Stradivarius 1716|
|Bingham Stradivarius 1690||Greffuhle Stradivarius 1709||ex-Windsor-Weinstein; Fite Stradivarius 1716|
|Bennett Stradivarius 1692||Berlin Hochschule Stradivarius 1709||Baron Wittgenstein Stradivarius 1716|
|Falmouth Stradivarius 1692||Hammerle; ex-Adler Stradivarius 1709||Gariel Stradivarius 1717|
|Gould Stradivarius 1692||Ernst Stradivarius 1709||ex-Wieniawski Stradivarius 1717|
|Harrison Stradivarius 1693||Engleman Stradivarius 1709||Kochanski Stradivarius 1717|
|Baillot-Pommerau Stradivarius 1694||King Maximilian; Unico Stradivarius 1709||Sasserno Stradivarius 1717|
|Rutson Stradivarius 1694||Viotti; ex-Bruce Stradivarius 1709||Viotti; ex-Rosé Stradivarius 1718|
|Fetzer Stradivarius 1695||Marie Hall Stradivarius 1709||Chanot-Chardon Stradivarius 1718|
|Molitor Stradivarius 1697||ex-Kempner Stradivarius 1709||Firebird; ex-Saint Exupéry Stradivarius 1718|
|Edvin Marton Stradivarius 1697||Camposelice Stradivarius 1710||Marquis de Riviere Stradivarius 1718|
|Cabriac Stradivarius 1698||Lord Dunn-Raven Stradivarius 1710||San Lorenzo Stradivarius 1718|
|Baron Knoop Stradivarius 1698||ex-Roederer Stradivarius 1710||ex-Count Vieri Stradivarius 1718|
|Joachim Stradivarius 1698||ex-Vieuxtemps Stradivarius 1710||Lauterbach Stradivarius 1719|
|Duc de Camposelice Stradivarius 1699||Davis Stradivarius 1710||Madrileño Stradivarius 1720|
|Lady Tennant; Lafont Stradivarius 1699||The Lady Inchiquin Stradivarius 1711||von Beckerath Stradivarius 1720|
|Longuet Stradivarius 1699||Earl of Plymouth; Kreisler Stradivarius 1711||Sinsheimer; Iselin Stradivarius 1721|
|Countess Polignac Stradivarius 1699||Liegnitz Stradivarius 1711||Lady Blunt Stradivarius 1721|
|Castelbarco Stradivarius 1699||Le Brun Stradivarius 1712||Jean-Marie Leclair Stradivarius 1721|
|Kustendyke Stradivarius 1699||Karpilowsky Stradivarius 1712||Red Mendelssohn Stradivarius 1721|
|Crespi Stradivarius 1699||Schreiber Stradivarius 1713||The Macmillan Stradivarius 1721|
|The Penny Stradivarius 1700||Antonio Stradivarius 1713||Artot Stradivarius 1722|
|Dragonett Stradivarius 1700||Boissier Stradivarius 1713||Jupiter; ex-Goding Stradivarius 1722|
|Jupiter Stradivarius 1700||Daniel Stradivarius 1713||Laub-Petschnikoff Stradivarius 1722|
|Taft; ex-Emil Heermann Stradivarius 1700||Gibson; ex-Huberman Stradivarius 1713||Elman Stradivarius 1722|
|Cádiz Stradivarius 1722|
|Jules Falk Stradivarius 1723||A. J. Fletcher; Red Cross Knight Stradivarius 1728||Des Rosiers Stradivarius 1733|
|Earl Spencer Stradivarius 1723||Artot-Alard Stradivarius 1728||Huberman; Kreisler Stradivarius 1733|
|Le Sarasate Stradivarius 1724||Dragonetti; Milanollo Stradivarius 1728||Khevenhüller Stradivarius 1733|
|Brancaccio Stradivarius 1725||Perkins Stradivarius 1728||Rode Stradivarius 1733|
|Chaconne Stradivarius 1725||Benny Stradivarius 1729||Ames Stradivarius 1734|
|Leonardo da Vinci Stradivarius 1725||Solomon, ex-Lambert Stradivarius 1729||Baron Feilitzsch; Heermann Stradivarius 1734|
|Wilhelmj Stradivarius 1725||Innes Stradivarius 1729||Habeneck Stradivarius 1734|
|Greville; Kreisler; Adams Stradivarius 1726||Guarneri Stradivarius 1729||Herkules; Ysaÿe; ex-Szeryng; King David 1734|
|Baron Deurbroucq Stradivarius 1727||Recamier Stradivarius 1729||Lord Amherst of Hackney Stradivarius 1734|
|Barrere Stradivarius 1727||Royal Spanish Stradivarius 1730||Lamoureux; ex-Zimbalist Stradivarius 1735|
|Davidoff-Morini Stradivarius 1727||Lady Jeanne Stradivarius 1731||Muntz Stradivarius 1736|
|General Dupont Stradivarius 1727||Garcin Stradivarius 1731||ex-Roussy Stradivarius 1736|
|Holroyd Stradivarius 1727||Heifetz-Piel Stradivarius 1731||Yale Stradivari - Stradivarius 1736|
|Kreutzer Stradivarius 1727||Baillot Stradivarius 1732||Comte d'Amaille Stradivarius 7|
Reynier or Le Reynier; Hart; ex-Francescatti
Stradivarius of 1727
|Duke of Alcantara Stradivarius 1732||Lord Norton Stradivarius 1737|
|Paganini-Comte Cozio di Salabue Stradivarius 1727||Herkules Stradivarius 1732|
|Halphen Stradivarius 1727||Red Diamond Stradivarius 1732|
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