ARTH 13
Stradivari Winter 2024

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Antonio Stradivari is the most famous violin maker of all time. He made over 1,000 violins, violas and cellos which, for centuries, have been coveted by soloists for their inimitable tone, power and beauty. Stradivari violins weigh less than a loaf of bread, spend several hours a day under a chin, are occasionally forgotten in taxis and yet they have become multimillion-dollar proxies for culture, class and wealth. In this course we will learn how violins are made, how they work and what makes a Stradivari so special. We will study the evolution of this 17th century craft into an elevated art-form and examine why the name Stradivari attracts so much mystery, romance and myth-making. We will examine (and hear!) Stradivari instruments in person and we will blind-test old instruments against new. We will explore issues of connoisseurship, art business and performance psychology. We will visit a modern violin making workshop and a conservation lab and we will see how new technologies are revolutionizing the restoration of 400 year old instruments. Evaluation will be based on a final project, performance or paper.
The Class: Format: lecture
Limit: 20
Expected: NA
Class#: 1042
Grading: pass/fail only
Requirements/Evaluation: Paper(s) or report(s); Presentation(s); Performance(s)
Prerequisites: A curiosity about music history, music performance or art business.
Enrollment Preferences: If over-enrolled, preference will be given to musical and art history minded applicants.
Unit Notes: Jason Price '00 is an expert on old Italian violins and is the Founder and Director of Tarisio which holds the record for the highest price ever paid for a Stradivari violin at auction.
Attributes: EXPE Experiential Education Courses
SLFX Winter Study Self-Expression
STUX Winter Study Student Exploration

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