Florian Leonhard of London and New York dealership Florian Leonhard Fine Violins discusses the instrument now played by Leonidas Kavakos
The most incredible thing for me is that Stradivari was 90 years old when he made the ‘Willemotte’ violin. It has been built with such strength and clear direction, without any fear of making a mistake in his craftsmanship. This violin is not the average type from Stradivari’s late period, where the hands of his sons can be seen in some asymmetrical and not-so-precisely executed work; this is instead a very strong, flowing example rarely seen by the master in his late years. His eyes would not have been as strong as they were previously, but Stradivari was so secure in his craftsmanship that he was probably able to feel rather than just see his work. This is apparent in all features of this instrument; he applied an element of genius automatism while building this violin.