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  1. Hi all, I was poking around the local university's library yesterday when I found another example of Nicolò Amati's connection to Stradivari's work, in this case, concerning his decorated instruments. The Hill's do touch on this point (what an incredibly comprehensive work!), stating: "We have seen two violins, the work of Nicolò Amati, which were gracefully embellished with inlaid ornament: in one of them the ornamentation consisted of double purfling, and a fleur-de-lys inlaid in black at the corners of the back and belly, interspersed with small precious stones, while a design of similar character was let into the sides at the blocks." This passage is almost certainly referring to the 'King Louis XIV' violin at the Smithsonian: http://americanhistory.si.edu/collections/search/object/nmah_763853 . They then make brief mention of Amati family instruments with painted decorations. My copy of "Stradivari" by Stewart Pollens only mentions in passing that ornamented instruments were a thing in Cremona and Brescia prior to Stradivari. The "Sradivarius" exhibit catalog put out by the Ashmolean Museum mentions that Nicolò Amati's work influenced "the high arching and hollow edgework" found in the 1683 'Cipriani Potter' Stradivarius, and leaves it at that. So I was a little surprised to find this photo of a violin attributed to Nicolò Amati, dated 17th century in the caption, located in the National Museum in Prague (I forgot to note the book title ). I guess this could be the 2nd decorated Nicolò Amati referred to by the Hill's in the passage above. What really surprised me was how strongly Stradivari's and Nicolò Amati's decorated instruments resemble each other. The concept is all laid out right here: Inlaid ornamentation - probably using black mastic - on the scroll and rib corners. Double purfling with (Ivory?) dots or diamonds set in between the two rows. So, who can we attribute this concept / vision of instrument ornamentation to? Stradivari's work was undoubtedly influenced by Nicolò, but the source didn't have a date for this instrument, and apparently Nicolò was still putting out new work after Stradivari had made his decorated instruments. Is this evidence of an active collaboration between both of them? Why isn't this instrument brought up as an example in every book passage pertaining to the Amati family's / Stradivari's decorated instruments? Or in passages alluding to circumstantial evidence of a possible Stradivari apprenticeship under Nicolò Amati (along with the 1666 'Serdet', similar forms, etc.)? Anyone care to venture a date for this instrument? I couldn't find it in Tarisio's 'Cozio Archive'. Is it even an Amati? (it wouldn't be the first falsely attributed instrument in older literature). Anyone willing to comment on shared / dissimilar stylistic traits, construction methods, evidence for or against collaboration or a possible apprenticeship between Stradivari and Amati are welcome to add as much as they want to this topic! Thanks! Joel
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