Stradivari violin ‘Benecke’: Unconventional Beauty

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The 1694 ‘Benecke’ violin is a masterpiece of Stradivari’s ‘Long Pattern’. Andrea Zanrè and Rudolf Hopfner take a look at this exquisite example, detailing its provenance and revealing what CT scans can tell us about its construction

What makes an ‘ideal’ violin? It would be one that conforms to all the ‘rules’ of classical beauty. In all of art history, it is very rare that these rules have been defined by the artists themselves; rather, it is the experts studying the evolution of that art who have defined them. Hence, given the huge variety of violin forms (which is surpassed only in the world of nature), the Platonic ideal of a ‘well-formed’ violin would be a cold abstraction, constrained in the limits of a few millimetres – possibly not more than plus or minus five.

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