The city of Cremona has always hosted exhibitions and shows celebrating its most famous violinmaker, but never before has it promoted an exhibition and a catalogue bringing together all the known examples of Stradivari’s greatest aesthetic triumphs: his decorated instruments.
Five of them (the violins Sunrise 1677, Hellier 1679, Cipriani Potter 1683, Ole Bull 1687, and Greffuhle 1709) and a belly (a fragment of a Stradivarian violin that may be dated 1685-1688) have been exhibited on the occasion of the Antonio Stradivari: l’estetica sublime exhibition (Museo Civico “Ala Ponzone”, Cremona 24 September – 09 October 2011). The other five, which complete the group of known surviving decorated instruments (the two 1709 violins, the 1696 viola and the 1694 cello of the Patrimonio Nacional of Madrid, and the Rode violin of 1722), together with the previously-mentioned instruments, are the subject of articles in the volume published on the occasion of the exhibition.
These essays, written by Gary Sturm, Jon Whiteley, Cristina Bordas Ibáñez, Mathijs A. Heyligers, Charles Beare, Fausto Cacciatori and Marcello Villa, give a detailed account of the history, state of conservation, the technical and construction peculiarities of the instruments in question, and an examination of the relics of the great master’s workshop kept at the Museo Stradivariano in Cremona.
The contents, pictures and the conclusions reached by the editors and authors offer a previously unpublished and rich account of the painted and inlaid instruments by Antonio Stradivari, accompanied by a related bibliography and list of recordings.