The Sabionari is one of the known five guitars made by Stradivari; the neck of a sixth guitar, dated 1675, has also survived and is currently exhibited with the other Stradivarian relics in Cremona. Beside the Sabionari, other two guitars were made in the 17th century: the Giustiniani, 1681, and the Hill, dated 1688. Other two were made in the following century: the Rawling, dated 1700, and the one known as the Vuillaume, whose date of construction, 1711, appears to be uncertain. Made only two years after the Le lever du soleil violin, the Sabionari is a clear example of the versatility of the Cremonese luthier and is to be considered, like the inlaid violins, as an expression of the craftsmanship that distinguished Stradivari’s work. The history of this guitar is summarized in a document dated 1854. It is a letter by Filippo Benetti of Ferrara, its owner of the time, in which he expressed the will to sell the instrument and also wrote he had previously bought it from Giovanni Sabionari, who had received it directly from one of Stradivari’s descendants. Exactly thirty-four years later, in 1888, on the occasion of the International Exhibition of Musical Instruments in Bologna, the guitar was presented by F. Donati. In 1934 the instrument was still in Bologna. That year, the merchant Bagnoli wrote to the Museum of the City of Cremona offering the guitar. In the photographs attached to the letter, the guitar had a 19th century neck and a six-string mounting, due to themodifications probably made by the violin maker Marconcini from Ferrara. The guitar thus looked very different from what we can see today after the recent restoration. On the back of the reconstructed head, the maple wood strip bearing the original label of the Cremonese luthier has been inserted.
The maple back shows Andrea Segovia’s signature and the inscription Two centuries later/A. Segovia/Bologna 1948.Among the Stradivarian relics exhibited in Cremona, we can also find wood and paper patterns used by the luthier for the construction of his guitars.
ANT.ᶳ STRADIVARIUS / CREMONEN:ᶳ F.1679
Wood insert set on the reconstructed head, belonging to the original one
On loan from Domenichini family