Making Matters: A new take on an old classic

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To combat the tedium of the Covid-19 lockdowns, Andrea Schudtz embarked on a project to copy a decorated Andrea Amati violin – but with a modern twist

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Making a copy of one of Andrea Amati’s decorated instruments had been one of my life’s ambitions for many years. In October 2007 I had attended the exhibition ‘Andrea Amati: Les Violons du Roi’ at Cremona’s Museo Civico, which brought together a number of instruments that the 16th-century luthier had made for the court of Charles IX of France. I was deeply impressed by that exhibition, bought the catalogue and decided to learn more about the instruments.

However, owing to pressures of work, the project remained on the back burner until 2020, when Cremona was seriously hit by the Covid-19 pandemic and the government instigated a two-month lockdown. This gave me all the necessary free time to devote myself to projects such as this.

I had initially planned to make a copy of the ‘King’ Amati cello, with the preserved allegorical figures of Piety and Justice, and some fragments of crown-bearing angels. But due to the strict regulations in force, I had to work at home and it was too difficult to move all the tools from the workshop to my place to make the cello. I realised it would be easier to make a violin, so I changed my mind and instead decided to make a copy of ‘il Portoghese’, one of the less-copied Andrea Amati instruments. I also saw that the decoration on the back was very different from those of the other ‘Charles IX’ instruments. For this reason it is assumed that this violin’s decoration was painted after his reign had ended…

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