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A violin by Santo Serafino, Venice, 1737

From the Archive: a violin by Santo Serafino, Venice, 1737

July 14, 2014

This illustration of a violin by Santo Serafino was published in The Strad, May 1930. The following text is extracted from the article accompanying the photographs:

With Santo Serafino one has an exceptional instance among the great masters of instrument-making, of the development of beauty of appearance in his productions, as an equally great objective as good tone. He was not an original draughtsman in the matter of the general designs of his instruments, but was to some extent a follower of Amati and Stainer.

I have seen Serafinos with reddish varnish, but the great majority of the specimens of this maker have been of the lighter shades of colour.

The purfling of Santo Serafino, like that of Stradivarius, is as neatly inlaid as that of finished modern makers, but possesses a ‘vitality’ which most contemporary inlaying lacks.

The remarkable violin illustrated is one of the best specimens of Serafino’s art which could easily be found, being beautiful in materials, design, style and varnish to an exceptional degree, whilst as regards the tone, pace reigns in my heart, for in the instrument I have at last encountered a Serafino with fully satisfying tone.

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