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Antonio Stradivari

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Antonio Stradivari (1644-1737) was an Italian violin-maker, the most prominent member of that profession.

Antonio Stradivari was born in the year 1644 (by some sources also in 1649 or 1650) in Cremona, Italy to Alessandro Stradivari and Anna Moroni. Probably in the years 1667 through 1679 he served as a pupil in Amati's workshop.

In 1680 Stradivari set up for himself in the Piazza San Domenico, and his fame as a violin-maker was soon established. He now began to show his originality, and to make alterations in Amati's model. The arching was improved, the various degrees of thickness in the wood were more exactly determined, the formation of the scroll altered, and the varnish more highly coloured. His instruments are recognized by their inscription in Latin: Antonius Stradivarius Cremonensis Faciebat Anno [date] (Antonio Stradivari, Cremona, made in the year ...). It is generally acknowledged that his finest instruments were manufactured from 1698 to 1725, exceeding in quality those manufactured between 1725 and 1730. After 1730, many of the instruments are signed sub disciplina Stradivarii, and were probably made by his sons, Omobono and Francesco. Apart from violins, Stradivari also made harps, guitars, violas, and cellos--more than 1,100 instruments in all, by current estimate. About 650 of these instruments survive today. Antonio Stradivari died in Cremona on December 18, 1737 and is buried in the Basilica of San Domenico[?], Cremona, Italy.

His instruments are still regarded as amongst the finest stringed instruments ever created, and those (50 or so) that have survived without damage are highly prized and still played by professionals today - though they can only get access to them through the generosity of rich patrons.

The highest price paid for a Stradivarius was 947,500 ($1.6 million) for the "Kreutzer Strad" at Christie's in London, 1998.

The world's largest collection of Stradivarius instruments belongs to the King of Spain and is exhibited at the Royal Palace at Madrid.

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