Stradivari violin ‘Benecke’: Unconventional Beauty

BOXOUT diagram

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.

If you are already a subscriber, sign in here

Sign up for a free 7-day trial to read this article in full

Strad subscription

 

This article is usually available exclusively to subscribers.

For a limited period, you can enjoy all the benefits of an online subscription free for 7 days. Sign up now to read this article in full and to enjoy unlimited access to all premium online content, a digital edition of the latest issue, plus an online archive of more than 100+ back issues.