Stradivari's golden ground varnish


Recommended Posts

9 hours ago, Peter K-G said:

Never mind the varnish (wich  is impossible to see from images). look at the purfling work, unbelievably perfection! I have looked at some Amati images lately and they(Strad & dG) should have slowed down a little. 

Yes, the color of the images can be very misleading. This is a shot of the Andrea Amati, taken freehand by me in the darkness of the Museum lighting behind the glass of the showcase. Just to show how much color can vary in different images.

The Amatis remain unsurpassed as a workmanship.

165343141_AndreaAmatiCarloIXMdV.thumb.jpg.50a401257cd35cf4ab4fd8c44d0f2d95.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 242
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

10 hours ago, WalterOB said:

Wow! What a resource, with only 250 views!

For those with less time, skip to the 55 minute mark.  General summary is lower stratum is protein based without evidence of a mineral pore filler. 

It seems to me that he clearly says that the lower stratum is just oil, isn't it?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Assuming it is oil... is it stand oil, runny oil, or something between them, or super-standy oil, or stand oil with a volatile thinner that evaporated?  Seems to me that unless you know ALL of the details of the material AND application methods, you can get a huge range of results with "oil".  (and to be annoyingly redundant, even if you did know all of that, what you get off-the-bench is I don't think will be all that similar to what it will be in 300 years or so.)

Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Davide Sora said:

Yes, the color of the images can be very misleading. This is a shot of the Andrea Amati, taken freehand by me in the darkness of the Museum lighting behind the glass of the showcase. Just to show how much color can vary in different images.

The Amatis remain unsurpassed as a workmanship.

165343141_AndreaAmatiCarloIXMdV.thumb.jpg.50a401257cd35cf4ab4fd8c44d0f2d95.jpg

This is a stunning photo, thanks for sharing. I've had the good fortune of seeing half a dozen or so Andrea Amati's - I'm convinced the ground (a form of gesso perhaps?) applied below the varnish to support the painted layer contributes to the unique and (stunning) appearance of the varnish. There really isn't anything else like these!

Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Don Noon said:

Assuming it is oil... is it stand oil, runny oil, or something between them, or super-standy oil, or stand oil with a volatile thinner that evaporated?  Seems to me that unless you know ALL of the details of the material AND application methods, you can get a huge range of results with "oil".  (and to be annoyingly redundant, even if you did know all of that, what you get off-the-bench is I don't think will be all that similar to what it will be in 300 years or so.)

We do know some detail regarding the oil but I agree.  I also suspect that things can and do happen much more quickly than 300 years.

Re it being oil, Echard has said that this is what he was able to detect.  (An obvious statement but one he has said needs to be acknowledged.)  He seems open to the possibility that other things could be involved that, for various reasons (e.g., masking, production and ageing effects, limitations of analytical techniques etc.,), are currently unable to be detected.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

After listening to Echard's lecture, I reread the work of Barlow and Woodhouse.  Their Stradivari sample with the particulate layer has no date--in other words, they do not know what instrument it came from.  Maybe the early Strad instruments used a particulate ground and Strad moved away from it.  I was thinking there was a connection between Amati and Strad, and thus, the Amati instruments might show this particulate ground.

Barlow and Woodhouse did examine a Nicolaus Amata of approximately 1660, and they found no particulate layer.  But the varnish did not penetrate the wood, either, causing them to suggest that some type of sealer was used.  So, no particulate connection with Amati.

I have no problem with using gesso as a ground, but it would leave clear evidence of a particulate layer. 

So, we are left with more confusion, but we now have many methods of sealing the wood, and sealing is the important point.  I hope Echard directs some attention to Amati instruments.

regards

Mike D  

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, Davide Sora said:

Yes, the color of the images can be very misleading. This is a shot of the Andrea Amati, taken freehand by me in the darkness of the Museum lighting behind the glass of the showcase. Just to show how much color can vary in different images.

The Amatis remain unsurpassed as a workmanship.

165343141_AndreaAmatiCarloIXMdV.thumb.jpg.50a401257cd35cf4ab4fd8c44d0f2d95.jpg

This type of picture is so much better than the other one,  Thank you!  Saved it in my violin folder!  

Link to post
Share on other sites

This thread creates a lot of noise by suggesting that there is a canonical Cremonese varnish system. I have said innumerable times that the old varnish system is a moving target even within Cremona. If you agree, then you should not be comparing different makers’ instruments. Nor should you be comparing a maker’s early instruments to later ones, if you are trying to determine a system. You will go nuts doing that. So, I focus only on the Strad Golden Period and might even see within these some variations. 

Next, as for the issue of aging which is a real one, I see that when the top color varnish is worn away, the aging process accelerates probably from UV and oxygen. The process accelerates even faster when the ground is exposed. However, a lot of what we attribute to aging is not just chemical but really mechanical wear and tear. The Messiah is a case in point because it has retained its protective top coatings. 
 

BTW, if my version of the golden yellow ground is not properly made, it is fugitive and can change to chestnut brown which can be very pleasing. I think I see this effect on later Strad’s. The stable  version is my target.
 

Now, I want to make a plea for the sake of science. Brandmair must be convinced to publish her section of B&G in an inexpensive digital file. If anyone can influence her, please contact her and make this case. I am tired of reading ideas that are not aware of her great work. Her book is beyond the finances of most makers.

Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, Advocatus Diaboli said:

Crappy iPhone4 photos, but here are some shots of other A Amati instruments. 

361E7B19-CBCA-4FBC-8759-07711A3C5F00.jpeg

7C062A52-95D6-43C4-8E43-3508625BD61E.jpeg

4FA7A700-FCDA-4148-B688-857B96BFEEC4.jpeg

Still,  very useful photos.  In fact, I like them.

Keep in mind that a good camera is a necessity just like any tool. The newer iPhones take magical photos, so they are worth the expense.

Link to post
Share on other sites
47 minutes ago, Michael_Molnar said:

This thread creates a lot of noise by suggesting that there is a canonical Cremonese varnish system. I have said innumerable times that the old varnish system is a moving target even within Cremona. If you agree, then you should not be comparing different makers’ instruments. Nor should you be comparing a maker’s early instruments to later ones, if you are trying to determine a system. You will go nuts doing that. So, I focus only on the Strad Golden Period and might even see within these some variations. 

Next, as for the issue of aging which is a real one, I see that when the top color varnish is worn away, the aging process accelerates probably from UV and oxygen. The process accelerates even faster when the ground is exposed. However, a lot of what we attribute to aging is not just chemical but really mechanical wear and tear. The Messiah is a case in point because it has retained its protective top coatings. 
 

BTW, if my version of the golden yellow ground is not properly made, it is fugitive and can change to chestnut brown which can be very pleasing. I think I see this effect on later Strad’s. The stable  version is my target.
 

Now, I want to make a plea for the sake of science. Brandmair must be convinced to publish her section of B&G in an inexpensive digital file. If anyone can influence her, please contact her and make this case. I am tired of reading ideas that are not aware of her great work. Her book is beyond the finances of most makers.

Does "Strad Golden Period" refer to the time period Stradivari started making golden color grounds or does it refer to the time period when Stradivari finally made some good violins?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Michael_Molnar said:

This thread creates a lot of noise by suggesting that there is a canonical Cremonese varnish system. I have said innumerable times that the old varnish system is a moving target even within Cremona. If you agree, then you should not be comparing different makers’ instruments. Nor should you be comparing a maker’s early instruments to later ones, if you are trying to determine a system. You will go nuts doing that. So, I focus only on the Strad Golden Period and might even see within these some variations. 

Next, as for the issue of aging which is a real one, I see that when the top color varnish is worn away, the aging process accelerates probably from UV and oxygen. The process accelerates even faster when the ground is exposed. However, a lot of what we attribute to aging is not just chemical but really mechanical wear and tear. The Messiah is a case in point because it has retained its protective top coatings. 
 

BTW, if my version of the golden yellow ground is not properly made, it is fugitive and can change to chestnut brown which can be very pleasing. I think I see this effect on later Strad’s. The stable  version is my target.
 

Now, I want to make a plea for the sake of science. Brandmair must be convinced to publish her section of B&G in an inexpensive digital file. If anyone can influence her, please contact her and make this case. I am tired of reading ideas that are not aware of her great work. Her book is beyond the finances of most makers.

it sounds like you have had the opportunity to study a great number of Cremonese instruments. Out of interest, how many of the instruments featured in the B&G book have you seen in real life?

Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, Michael_Molnar said:

Still,  very useful photos.  In fact, I like them.

Keep in mind that a good camera is a necessity just like any tool. The newer iPhones take magical photos, so they are worth the expense.

These are from several years ago.  Normally I take photos with a decent camera. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, Marty Kasprzyk said:

Does "Strad Golden Period" refer to the time period Stradivari started making golden color grounds or does it refer to the time period when Stradivari finally made some good violins?

I think it refers to the period when everyone wanted a red one.

So it should be "Strad Red Period"

Maybe "Golden Period" is more catchy?

Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, Marty Kasprzyk said:

Does "Strad Golden Period" refer to the time period Stradivari started making golden color grounds or does it refer to the time period when Stradivari finally made some good violins?

I happen to be re-reading the Hill's book right now.  They qoute Hart as coining the phrase Golden period as starting ca. 1700. I prefer the Hill's way of breaking his making into periods or epochs usually spanning 5 to 10 years based on the construction of Strads instruments. An amazing book that is actually cheap. Free even, as there is a PDF version online.

Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, Mat Roop said:

Well used & Clean ...wine stains are OK! New ones will leave lint behind

Thanks Mat, I'm glad I asked.

 

On 1/2/2021 at 10:23 AM, Davide Sora said:

Yes, the color of the images can be very misleading. This is a shot of the Andrea Amati, taken freehand by me in the darkness of the Museum lighting behind the glass of the showcase. Just to show how much color can vary in different images.

The Amatis remain unsurpassed as a workmanship.

165343141_AndreaAmatiCarloIXMdV.thumb.jpg.50a401257cd35cf4ab4fd8c44d0f2d95.jpg

Grazie Davide, felice gimondi campagnolo nuovo record brevettata.  Is that a red colophony over a yellow ground?

Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Davide Sora said:

Felice gimondi - Bianchi Campagnolo

No, it's my linoxin varnish on a casein ground, of course.;)

Perhaps I should translate for those who don't understand  1960s/70s Eastern Lombard dialect?

felice gimondi campagnolo nuovo record brevettata. Translates literally as: happy other-worldly countryman (you have attained) new heights of excellence and everyone knows it.

In American slang the equivalent would be:

Hey, that's far out man.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, sospiri said:

Perhaps I should translate for those who don't understand  1960s/70s Eastern Lombard dialect?

felice gimondi campagnolo nuovo record brevettata. Translates literally as: happy other-worldly countryman (you have attained) new heights of excellence and everyone knows it.

In American slang the equivalent would be:

Hey, that's far out man.

I did not know we were countrymen. Careful, you are revealing your identity:ph34r:

In any case I have never heard that way of saying of eastern Lombardy, what the heck, I'm not from those areas, I'm from Cremona and it's well known we don't have good relations with neighbors...

However, I doubt the accuracy of your translation :

Felice Gimondi : italian cycling champion, professional from 1965 to 1979

Campagnolo nuovo record : a renowned brand of bike gearbox, a specific model in this case (nuovo record)

Brevettata : Patented, referring to the gearbox above

Maybe you need to improve your Italian...or your english:)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.