Despite centuries of investigation, no document confirming Stradivari’s birth date has been found so far: however, it is certain that in 1715 the Cremonese maker was approaching or a little past his seventieth birthday. We can imagine him as a man in his later years, a rich and renowned craftsman. The list contained in the manuscript Accademia de pittori cremonesi con alcuni scultori ed architetti cremonesi, written in 1720 by Don Desiderio Arisi, provides significant historical evidence of the noble status of Stradivari’s customers: kings, princes, high-ranking clergy and, of course, the best performers of his day. As it has been universally recognized, it was in this period that he reached the peak of his career. The decade from 1710 to 1720 has indeed been defined as his “golden age” for craftsmanship and number of instruments including the Cremonese violin, known for a long time as Joachim. The following lines from the book about the great master’s life and work published by the Hill brothers in the early 20th century can be regarded as indisputable credentials: The year 1715 is indeed a rich one; it contributes no fewer thansix violins of the first rank: the “Gillott”, three examples formerly into the possession of Professor Joachim, another owned by Mr. F. L. Bevan, and lastly (…) the “Alard”, the property of Baron Knoop. The famous violinist and composer Joseph Joachim, who had been presented with the violin on the occasion of his jubilee celebrations, died in 1907, five years after the publication of the comprehensive work by the London violin making experts. Shortly before the year of his death, Joachim had donated the instrument to his nephew Harold. In 1910 the violin was purchased by Robert Brandt who eventually sold it the Hills.
The instrument, purchased by the Provincial Tourism Board, was back in Cremona on December 17, 1961: since that day the violin, renamed the Cremonese, is considered as one of the town’s symbols.
Antonius Stradivarius Cremonensis / Faciebat anno 1715
W.E. Hill & Sons, London, January 1st, 1962
Purchased by the Provincial Tourism Board of Cremona in 1961