Amati (/əˈmɑːti/, Italian: [aˈmaːti]) is the last name of a family of Italian violin makers who lived at Cremona from about 1538 to 1740. Their importance is considered equal to those of the Bergonzi, Guarneri, and Stradivari families. Today, violins created by Nicolò Amati are valued at around $600,000.[1] Because of their age and rarity, Amati instruments are mostly kept in museum or private collections and are seldom played in public.

Family membersEdit

Andrea AmatiEdit

Andrea Amati (c. 1505 – December 20, 1577) designed and created the violin, viola and cello known as the "violin family". He standardized the basic form, shape, size, materials and method of construction. Makers from nearby Brescia experimented, such as Gasparo da Salò, Micheli, Zanetto and Pellegrino, but it was Andrea Amati in Cremona, Italy, who gave the modern violin family their definitive profile.

A claim that Andrea Amati received the first order for a violin from Lorenzo de' Medici in 1555 is invalid as Lorenzo de' Medici died in 1492. A number of Andrea Amati's instruments survived for some time, dating between 1538 (Amati made the first Cello called "The King" in 1538) and 1574. The largest number of these are from 1560, a set for an entire orchestra of 38 ordered by Catherine de Médicis the regent queen of France and bore hand painted royal French decorations in gold including the motto and coat of arms of her son Charles IX of France. Of these 38 instruments ordered, Amati created violins of two sizes, violas of two sizes and large-sized cellos. They were in use until the French revolution of 1789 and only 14 of these instruments survived. His work is marked by selection of the finest materials, great elegance in execution, soft clear amber, soft translucent varnish, and an in depth use of acoustic and geometrical principles in design. [2]

Antonio and Girolamo AmatiEdit

Andrea Amati was succeeded by his sons Antonio Amati (c. 1537–1607) and Girolamo Amati (c. 1551–1630). "The Brothers Amati", as they were known, implemented far-reaching innovations in design, including the perfection of the shape of the f-holes. They are also thought to have pioneered the modern alto format of viola, in contrast to older tenor violas, but the widespread belief that they were the first ones to do so is incorrect given that Gasparo da Salo made violas ranging from altos of 39 cm to tenors of 44.7 cm.

Nicolo AmatiEdit

Nicolò Amati (December 3, 1596 – April 12, 1684) was the son of Girolamo Amati. He was the most eminent of the family. He improved the model adopted by the rest of the Amatis and produced instruments capable of yielding greater power of tone.[3] His pattern was unusually small, but he also made a wider model now known as the "Grand Amati", which have become his most sought-after violins.

Of his pupils, the most famous were Antonio Stradivari and Andrea Guarneri,[3] the first of the Guarneri family of violin makers. (There is much controversy regarding the apprenticeship of Antonio Stradivari. While the label on Stradivari's first known violin states that he was a pupil of Amati, the validity of his statement is questioned.)

Girolamo Amati (Hieronymus II)Edit

The last maker of the family was Nicolò's son, Girolamo Amati, known as Hieronymus II (February 26, 1649 – February 21, 1740). He improved the arching of his father's instruments.[citation needed]

Extant Amati instrumentsEdit

Amati instruments include some of the oldest extant examples of the violin family, dating to as far back as the mid-16th century. For reasons of conservation, they are only occasionally played in public.

United KingdomEdit

Instruments in the UK include Andrea Amati violins from the set delivered to Charles IX of France in 1564.

United StatesEdit

This violin, now at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, may have been part of a set made for the marriage of Philip II of Spain to Elisabeth of Valois in 1559, which would make it one of the earliest known violins in existence.
  • Amati instruments at the National Music Museum (University of South Dakota)[2]:
    • Andrea Amati:
      • "The King", circa 1545, the world's oldest extant cello
      • Viola, 1560
      • Violin, 1560
      • Violin, 1574
    • Girolamo Amati:
    • Nicolò Amati:
      • Violin, 1628
  • Amati instruments at the (New York) Metropolitan Museum of Art
    • Andrea Amati:
      • Violin, c. 1560
    • Nicolò Amati:
      • Violin, 1669

In popular cultureEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Violin Price Histories Archived 2011-07-17 at the Wayback Machine,, accessed 18 martie 2014
  2. ^ Dilworth, John. "The Violin and Bow-Origins and Development." The Cambridge Companion to the Violin. Ed. Robin Stowell. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992. 1–29. doi:10.1017/CCOL9780521390330.002
  3. ^ a b   One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Amati". Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 1 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 783.
  4. ^ "Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar – Single Episodes: The Ricardo Amerigo Matter". Retrieved October 31, 2017.


  • Dilworth, John (1992), "The Violin and Bow-Origins and Development" in: The Cambridge Companion to the Violin, ed. Robin Stowell. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 1–29.

External linksEdit

  • Andrea Amati: Violin, Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History, The Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • Instruments of the Amati family on the online database MIMO, website