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- Publisher: Ashmolean Museum
- Format: Hardback | 208 pages
- Dimensions: 226mm x 305mm x 18mm | 1,610g
- Publication date: 7 December 2013
- Publication City/Country: Oxford
- ISBN 10: 185444283X
- ISBN 13: 9781854442833
- Edition statement: New.
- Illustrations note: 230 Colour
- Sales rank: 772,757
Antonio Stradivari 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 the world's greatest soloists seek his instruments. He excites controversy, although none of his violins have raised so much heated debate as the Ashmolean's Messiah, making headline news some ten years ago when doubt was cast on its age. Stradivari's 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. Since then his instruments have increased in fame and are now regarded as supreme examples of the violin maker's craft. Despite the great fame of Stradivari's violins, there has never been a monographic exhibition of his work in the UK. The exhibition at the Ashmolean will include 21 instruments, representative of Stradivari's range and output across the years, alongside exceedingly rare examples of stringed instruments other than those of the violin family. The prize items to be featured in the exhibition are already in the Ashmolean: The Potter, The Messiah and the guitar of 1688, all works of the greatest rarity. The exhibition and the accompanying catalogue will allow the public to see the work of one of the greatest violin makers of all time. Stradivarius also presents the most recent research on Stradivarius' instruments.
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Charles and Peter Beare are directors at the succesful violin dealers Beares. Peter is a qualified luthier. Jon Whiteley is the Senior Assistant Keeper in the Department of Western Art, specialising in paintings drawings and musical instruments.
Table of contents
Contents: Introduction by James Ehnes Essay on Stradivarius by Charles Beare Essay on Stradivarius' work including dendrochronology of the instruments The luthier's perspective: How Stradivari violins are built and what makes them so good? By Peter Beare Catalogue entries Technical information