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21 minutes ago, J.DiLisio said:

Or was Antonio Stradivari a fictitious character made up by Vuilliaume ....

Also a theory!  Without a really good photo of him, could be! 

Just like Shakespeare...

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I know nothing about violins, but in the art world there is very little incentive for an expert to declare a real artifact to be fake, but there is tremendous incentive for one to declare a fake artifact to be real. That alone should tell you most of what you need to know about borderline cases. Whether or not this particular case is borderline or not I have no idea. But it pays to always be suspicious. There is a wonderful article here in the new yorker detailing how a Jackson Pollack copy suddenly became 'real' thanks to some sketchy forensic folks. The Fingerprints in the Paint | The New Yorker

All of this also calls into question our obsession with the artist over the art. If we literally can't tell whether a violin (or a painting) is great or not without determining who made it.... well.... 

 

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15 hours ago, Ernee said:

The other question is who made the Lady Blunt?  Two peas in a pod.

There are currently 11 Strads from the 1719/1722 period whose bellies are made from the same tree as the Lady Blunt, and also a c.1719 PG.Rogeri and a 1724 Guarneri del Gesù.  Of course, all made by Vuillaume:D

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59 minutes ago, _Alex said:

...

All of this also calls into question our obsession with the artist over the art. If we literally can't tell whether a violin (or a painting) is great or not without determining who made it.... well.... 

 

We are a very odd species.  But obviously this need to know, catalogue, deceive, profit, sleuth and discover "truth" are all part of what has pushed us to the top of the food chain.

Maybe it's an artefact of an overly developed brain?

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1 hour ago, Ratcliffiddles said:

There are currently 11 Strads from the 1719/1722 period whose bellies are made from the same tree as the Lady Blunt, and also a c.1719 PG.Rogeri and a 1724 Guarneri del Gesù.  Of course, all made by Vuillaume:D

Personally, I believe that it is a product of Stradivari's shop, but possibly not directly from Antonio's hands. There is probably a good reason it was set aside.

To play devils advocate, it's possible that it may have been an orphan top or even a billet that was obtained from the refuse when his shop materials and tools were dispersed. Who wouldn't jump at the chance to utilize a piece of Stradivari's wood stock when so much folklore mystique was created about his materials?

 

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13 minutes ago, Bill Yacey said:

Personally, I believe that it is a product of Stradivari's shop, but not necessarily directly from Antonio's hands. There is probably a good reason it was set aside.

To play devils advocate, it's possible that it may have been an orphan top or even a billet that was obtained from the refuse when his shop materials and tools were dispersed. Who wouldn't jump at the chance to utilize a piece of Stradivari's wood stock when so much folklore mystique was created about his materials?

 

Sorry Bill, I was deviating and talking about the Lady Blunt as an reply to Ernee. 

As far as "refuse" when Stradivari's shop was "shut", unlikely story in my opinion.  Why would he  discard a billet, or a matched pair of wedges, when in the 1720s, there are a number of tops made with mismatched halves (different trees). I have just tested one from 1729 with this plate arrangement. This suggests, (amongst other facts), that billets/logs were unavailable, at least for a period, and Stradivari resorted to use whatever he could get hold of.  If there was a match pair leftover from the late 1710s, he would probably have used it in preference by then.

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40 minutes ago, Bill Yacey said:

Personally, I believe that it is a product of Stradivari's shop, but possibly not directly from Antonio's hands. There is probably a good reason it was set aside.

To play devils advocate, it's possible that it may have been an orphan top or even a billet that was obtained from the refuse when his shop materials and tools were dispersed. Who wouldn't jump at the chance to utilize a piece of Stradivari's wood stock when so much folklore mystique was created about his materials?

 

Well, the violin does have a small soundpost crack in the belly. That might have been enough to set it aside.

The other point is that it can be demonstrated very easily that JB Vuillaume didn't completely know or understand the Stradivarian construction method.

In addition, just under simple UV examination Vuillaume's varnish misses by a mile. Not to mention corner block position and dimensions, wood used for the blocks and linings, purfling materials, how the purfling joins at the corners and where and how they are truncated in the upper and lower bouts, various missing compass points on the scroll and button of the back, his use / or non-use of locating pins in the back and belly for construction; just to mention a few of the more obvious differences.

Of course Vuillaume admired and studied Stradivari and imitated his work but at his best it is only an imitation. There was never any serious attempt at a bench copy.

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7 minutes ago, Bruce Carlson said:

just under simple UV examination Vuillaume's varnish misses by a mile.

I think a lot of people didnt anticipate a time when every violin dealer, player, enthusiast would go around with a UV lamp in their pocket.

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58 minutes ago, ShadowStrad said:

I'm convinced Francis Bacon was really "Shakespeare".  

If you have not done so, I would highly recommend you read Mark twain’s brilliant essay called, “is Shakespeare dead,” in which he postulates exactly that Francis Bacon was Shakespeare.

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36 minutes ago, Bruce Carlson said:

Well, the violin does have a small soundpost crack in the belly. That might have been enough to set it aside.

The other point is that it can be demonstrated very easily that JB Vuillaume didn't completely know or understand the Stradivarian construction method.

In addition, just under simple UV examination Vuillaume's varnish misses by a mile. Not to mention corner block position and dimensions, wood used for the blocks and linings, purfling materials, how the purfling joins at the corners and where and how they are truncated in the upper and lower bouts, various missing compass points on the scroll and button of the back, his use / or non-use of locating pins in the back and belly for construction; just to mention a few of the more obvious differences.

Of course Vuillaume admired and studied Stradivari and imitated his work but at his best it is only an imitation. There was never any serious attempt at a bench copy.

That’s a brilliant reply, thank you very much. Settles it for me, I’ll buy it.

Somebody please lend me $20 million?

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Not meaning to throw fuel on any fires, but I too have suggested that The Messiah is a shop reject. Not because it has a crack or some other mechanical issue, but that it’s colored varnish is not in the red color style of its siblings. Compared to its contemporary violins it stands out as being more orange than red. The difference is not due to The Messiah’s excellent state of preservation. My theory is that Maestro Strad did not approve its sale.

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14 minutes ago, Michael_Molnar said:

Not meaning to throw fuel on any fires, but I too have suggested that The Messiah is a shop reject. Not because it has a crack or some other mechanical issue, but that it’s colored varnish is not in the red color style of its siblings. Compared to its contemporary violins it stands out as being more orange than red. The difference is not due to The Messiah’s excellent state of preservation. My theory is that Maestro Strad did not approve its sale.

What about the other 90 instruments that were in the shop? Perhaps not all new. The Cremonese varnish becomes particularly striking when you have wear and usage.

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19 minutes ago, Bruce Carlson said:

What about the other 90 instruments that were in the shop? Perhaps not all new.

Bruce, the major part of Italian art in the time of the classic makers was commissioned, there are evidences of that when we study Cellini, Bernini,  etc.

It would be reasonable that part of Strad's work was commissioned, but these 90 instruments in his shop at the time of his death  points out to a different scenario. They were there, available to sell, as most makers do today.

Stradivari died in 1737, leaving those 90 unsold instruments, and 38 years later, in 1775, there were still 10 instruments unsold, as mentioned by Cozio di Salabue, who got them from Paolo Stradivari (apparently even Stradivari violins were all not that easy to sell...).

It would be nice knowing how Strad worked with his sales...  The Hills mention a possible link with the Church to sell instruments, priests travelled all arond that time, as today.

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5 minutes ago, MANFIO said:

It would be reasonable that part of Strad's work was commissioned, but these 90 instruments in his shop at the time of his death  points out to a different scenario.....

Rental pool?  :huh:

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5 hours ago, Rue said:

Also a theory!  Without a really good photo of him, could be! 

Just like Shakespeare...

 

3 hours ago, ShadowStrad said:

I'm convinced Francis Bacon was really "Shakespeare".  

Oh no!  That's a total misconception.  Not only did Shakespeare write Shakespeare, but he had lucrative ghost-writing contracts with some of the nobility, such as Bacon and Oxford, who fancied themselves as authors.  You really think that a bunch of Elizabethan courtiers had that polished a set of writing skills?  :lol:   whee.gif.ec07ddc6035ab2254d02402782ad6db9.gif

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49 minutes ago, Rue said:

...well, the women likely did...:P

Yeah, but they weren't bashing each others brains out in the jousting lists, like Oxford and his buddies.  Ever tried discussing art and philosophy with a "stickjock"?  :lol:

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