Smithsonian Collections

Stradivari Violin, the "Greffuhle"

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Data Source
National Museum of American History
Description (Brief)
This violin was handcrafted by Antonio Stradivari in Cremona, Italy around 1700. This instrument represents an artistic standard of perfection recognized by classical musicians in the United States and around the world. Of the 620 Stradivari instruments that survive, this is one of only eleven that are decorated. The inlay along the sides—an ornate motif of flowers, vines, and animals—is suggestive of eternal life and the promise of paradise. The brilliant tone of the Greffuhle (named for a French nobleman who once owned it) can still be heard today. The violin is made of a two-piece table of spruce with even medium fine grain broadening toward the sides, one-piece back of maple with narrow, nearly horizontal figure, ribs of similar maple, modern maple neck terminating in the original pegbox and scroll of similar maple, and a golden red-brown varnish.
Stradivari, Antonio
Date made
Credit Line
Gift of Evelyn and Herbert R. Axelrod
Physical Description
spruce (table material)
maple (back material)
overall: 23 7/8 in x 8 1/8 in x 4 in; 60.6425 cm x 20.6375 cm x 10.16 cm
Object Name
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Musical Instruments
National Treasures exhibit
Music & Musical Instruments
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Related Publication
Shinichi Yokoyama. The Decorated Instruments of Antonio Stradivari
Schubert, Franz. Franz Schubert: Quintet in C Major D. 956, Rondo in A Major D. 438
Auguste Franchomme & Frédéric Chopin. Franchomme & Chopin: Grand Duo Concertant; Caprices Op. 7, Nos. 2, 4, & 7; Two Nocturnes; Grande Valse, Op. 34.
Louis Spohr Octets, Sextet, Quintet
Felix Mendelssohn and Neils Gade. Mendelssohn & Gade: String Octet in E-flat Major, Op. 20; String Octet in F Major, Op. 17.
Georges Onslow. Georges Onslow: String Quintets Opp. 38, 39 & 40.
Luigi Boccherini. Boccherini: String Quintets, op.11, Nos. 4-6
Friedrich Dotzauer. Dotzauer: Quintet in D Minor, Op. 134; Six Pieces for 3 Violoncelli, Op. 104; Three Etudes for Violoncello Solo; Quartet for Violoncello Obbligato, 2 Violins, and Viola, Op. 64
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: The Complete String Quartets
National Museum of American History. Treasures of American History online exhibition
Related Web Publication
Place Made
Italy: Lombardy, Cremona