In Focus: the 1696 Stradivari ‘Archinto’ viola
John Dilworth praises the archetypal beauty of Stradivari’s ‘Archinto’ viola, a magical example of form and aesthetic
A poster of the 1696 ’Archinto’ Stradivari viola is available from The Strad Shop
This is an edited version of an article first published in the June 1996 issue of The Strad
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The 1696 Stradivari ‘Archinto’ viola is one of the most beautiful instruments in the world. It was made at a very felicitous time, just as the great master’s red varnish was reaching perfection and his designs — encapsulated in the gorgeous long pattern violins — were at their most elegant. The Golden Period of the following few decades is exemplified by a slightly heavier approach which (though it suits the violins well) is less effective on the larger instrument….