Stradivari, Or Stradivarins, Antonio, an Italian violin maker, born in Cremona in 1644, died there, Dec. 17, 1737. He was a pupil of Nicold Amati, and his first violins, made when he was 23 years old, as well as those which he made during the succeeding 20 years, were, in form and style, reproductions of the works of that master. As early as 1668 he began to use a label with his own name, as follows:
"Antonius Stradiuarius Cremonensis faciebat, A. D. 16 - ." For many years the form of his instruments varied; but about 1686 he acquired his peculiar style, which is very manifest in all his subsequent works; although he had three manners and three periods, during one of which, the middle, he produced what is known as the "long" pattern. His productions consist mostly of violins, violas, and violoncellos, though he also made some viols of six and seven strings, as well as mandolins, guitars, and lutes. His instruments are distinguished alike by their external beauty and the superiority of their tone. He was the first to finish his instruments neatly on the inside. He generally selected and cut his wood with great care, and studied the proportions of thickness and breadth most conducive to sonority, the form of the outside line and of the sound holes (in which he attained great elegance), and the lustre and durability of his varnish, and thus produced works that no subsequent maker has been able to rival. So precious are these instruments in the estimation of connoisseurs that the possessors of the finest of them are well known. One, carefully preserved under glass, has never been touched by the bow, and is known as la pucelle.
The "Dolphin," so called from the richness and variety of the veined wood of its back, formerly belonged to the marquis de la Rosa. The fineness of the wood and the perfection of its form render it the most beautiful work extant of this maker. Others of his famous violins were owned by the late grand duke of Tuscany, M. Allard, Viotti, Artot, and Count Cepol. Several were in the collections of Mr. Goding and Mr. Joseph Gillott in England. Superior specimens command in the market prices ranging from $1,000 to 83,000.