Nicolò Amati (Cremona 1596–1684 Cremona) Italian

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 684

The violins of Nicolò Amati (1596–1684), the preeminent violin maker of the Amati family of instrument builders, were known for their elegant design, responsiveness, and sweet sound, although they lacked the strength of violins by later makers such as Antonio Stradivari and Guarneri "del Gesù." Nicolò Amati single-handedly carried on the Cremonese tradition of fine violin making after famine and disease in the years around 1630 had wiped out virtually all of the top violin makers in both Cremona and nearby Brescia; not surprisingly, violins from this period are very rare. Amati's many students included Andrea Guarneri, Giovanni Battista Rogeri, and possibly Antonio Stradivari, among others.

This heavily-used instrument was modernized in the middle of the nineteenth century to meet the changing needs of players. Around that time, a painted decoration was added to the back and ribs. The painted and gilt dedication on the ribs reads: PREMIER PRIX [DÉ]CERNÉ á PAUL JULIEN CONSERVATOIRE NATIONAL DE M[USIQUE]. This inscription indicates that the violin was a prize awarded to the child prodigy Paul Julien (b. 1841) after he won first prize at the Paris Conservatory in 1850.

In 1977, the violin was refitted to the present setup with a shorter fingerboard and gut strings by the Dutch luthier Fred J. Lindeman. This setup more closely resembles the state of the violin before its nineteenth century restoration.

#Jorg Michael Schwarz. A prelude from Nicolini Cosma's "Select Preludes & Vollentarys for the Violin". Recorded February 2010



  1. Jorg Michael Schwarz. A prelude from Nicolini Cosma's "Select Preludes & Vollentarys for the Violin". Recorded February 2010
  2. Gigue & autre gigue from Suite for solo violin in A major by Johann Paul von Westhoff (1656-1705). Performed by Manfredo Kraemer on the Nicolo Amati violin from 1669 at The Metropolitan Museum of Art for CD "Il Violino," BMG 1995.
  3. Paduana del Re, anonymous, Spain, 16th c. Amy Domingues, Shirley Hunt, and Elizabeth Weinfeld, viols and Jude Ziliak, violin. Performing using instruments 1976.8.37, 1989.44, 1988.365, and 1974.229. October 1, 2014.
Violin, Nicolò Amati (Cremona 1596–1684 Cremona), Spruce, maple, Italian (Cremona)

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