CT-Scanning the ‘Messiah’ Stradivari violin


In 2016 the ‘Messiah’ Stradivari was the subject of an extensive CT scanning project. Francesco Piasentini and Gregg Alf examine the resulting data, discovering repair work in the neck, and attempt to determine how it had originally been set

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This article appeared in our January 2021 issue

The date was Monday 5 September 2016 and Francesco Piasentini, a violin maker with a PhD in metallurgical engineering, was waiting at TEC Eurolab, a leading company in non-destructive testing near Modena, for the return of the ‘Messiah’. At 11am Gregg Alf, a fellow violin maker and expert from Cremona’s Museo del Violino (MdV), would be delivering one of the rarest violins on earth. Accompanied by Fausto Cacciatori and Colin Harrison, curators from the MdV and Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum respectively, Antonio Stradivari’s iconic 1716 violin was returning to the city of its birth in celebration of its 300th anniversary.

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