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Digital Subscriptions > The Strad > June 2019 > Forms of mystery

Forms of mystery

Andrea Zanrè and Philip Ihle conclude their examination of Stradivari’s moulds, with the aid of micro-CT imaging by Rudolf Hopfner, by exploring whether the Cremonese master may have used more than the twelve forms that survive in the Museo del Violino
The 1708 ‘Dancla’ Stradivari together with its most probable mould, the ‘G’ (MS49)

The first part of this article (‘Variations on a theme’, May 2019) provided readers with new interpretations of the twelve violin moulds attributed to Antonio Stradivari now housed in Cremona’s Museo del Violino. The study of these artefacts has been an ongoing process for the past 250 years: it became a real obsession for collectors such as Count Cozio di Salabue, who acquired the moulds through the descendants of Antonio Stradivari in 1776; for makers such as Giuseppe Fiorini, who purchased the relics from the heirs of Cozio in 1920, later donating them to the town of Cremona; and more recently some of the most knowledgeable scholars active during the past decades.

What all of us thought we knew about these items (which has been thoroughly explained by Simone Fernando Sacconi in his 1972 work I ‘Segreti’ di Stradivari) now requires some rethinking, especially after the publication in 2016 of the Museo’s catalogue of Stradivari relics. Scientific analyses of the inks and handwriting present on them has in fact shown that the majority of the inscriptions are of 19th-century origin, and are due to Cozio’s cataloguing efforts. Thus the letters (for instance, P for ‘Prima’, S for ‘Seconda’ and so on) and the dates inscribed on the moulds remain to be investigated with greater accuracy, always considering that Cozio might have been handing down to us previous knowledge about the moulds originating either from Stradivari’s workshop (rewriting fading letters?) or his heirs.

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About The Strad

We conclude our investigation of Stradivari’s moulds and examine some radical teaching methods. Vadim Gluzman, Philip Dukes and Matthew Barley are interviewed and there’s our annual Accessories supplement, featuring carbon fibre bows, wolf eliminators, mutes and lots more.