In Focus: A c.1680 double bass by Girolamo Amati II


René Zaal details an instrument by the son of the more well-known Nicolò Amati, and the grandson of his namesake Girolamo Amati I

Girolamo Amati II was the son of the more well-known Nicolò Amati, the grandson of his namesake Girolamo Amati I, and the great-grandson of the founder of the dynasty, Andrea Amati. With such illustrious names behind him, one could be forgiven for considering Girolamo II one of the lesser Cremonese makers; however, his instruments stand up well to those of his forebears and many of his contemporaries in the city.

Girolamo II was a near-contemporary of Stradivari: he was born in 1649, five years after Antonio, and died three years after him, in 1740. Unlike Stradivari, however, he did not spend his whole working life in Cremona; in 1697 he left for Piacenza, although he eventually returned to his home town. Having apprenticed in his father’s workshop, Girolamo was clearly channelling Nicolò in his earlier instruments, whereas his later style showed the influence of Stradivari: his archings become lower and his varnish is of a deeper, redder hue. Girolamo Amati II was not a prolific maker and had no pupils, and so with his demise, the four generations of Amati violin makers came to an end…

Already subscribed? Please sign in

Subscribe to continue reading…

We’re delighted that you are enjoying our website. For a limited period, you can try an online subscription to The Strad completely free of charge.

  • Free 7-day trial

    Not sure about subscribing? Sign up now to read this article in full and you’ll also receive unlimited access to premium online content, including the digital edition and online archive for 7 days.

    No strings attached – we won’t ask for your card details

  • Subscribe 

    No more paywalls. To enjoy the best in-depth features and analysis from The Strad’s latest and past issues, upgrade to a subscription now. You’ll also enjoy regular issues and special supplements* and access to an online archive of issues back to 2010.


* Issues and supplements are available as both print and digital editions. Online subscribers will only receive access to the digital versions.