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Antonio Stradivari
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    (1644-December 18, 1737)
    Born in Lombardy Region, Italy
    Raised in Cremona, Italy
    Luthier and creator of famed Stradivarius (Strad) instruments
    Instruments crafted included violins, violas, cellos, two known guitars and at least one known harp
    Crafted over 1,100 instruments total of which around 600 exist today
    Died at age 93 and buried in the Basilica of San Domenico, Cremona, Italy
    Largest collections of Stradivari instruments accessible to the public is the U.S. Library of Congress (three violins, a viola and a cello) and the Agency of National Estates of Spain (two violins, a viola and a cello)
    There is debate whether or not he was a pupil of famed luthier Nicolò Amati.
    He produced more than just stringed instruments as he sired six children by his first wife and five by his second.
    He believed each instrument he created was a gift for God.
    Other luthiers creating works in Stradivarius fashion were allowed to stamp 'Stradivarius' on their pieces, creating confusion and the occasional high priced purchase of a faux masterpiece.
    His two verified remaining guitars can not be played as they are sitting in museums (one in Oxford, England and the other in Vermillion, South Dakota).
    He is synonymous with violins, even by those who have never listened to classical music in their lives.
    He shared his knowledge with two of his sons so the family could continue the art of fine luthier crafting.
    The Basilica of San Domenico was demolished in 1868 and his remains are thought to be forever lost.
    Owners and musicians of his works include the Vienna Philharmonic (four violins and a cello), a violin by Itzhak Perlman and a cello by Yo-Yo Ma.
    On May 16, 2006, the Hammer Stradivarius (named for 19th century Swedish collector Christian Hammer) was sold at Christie's auction for a record $3,544,000, the highest price ever paid in a public auction for a musical instrument.

Credit: Scar Tactics

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