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Smithsonian Institution Collections

Stradivari Violin, the "Greffuhle"

  • Stradivari Violin, the
  • Stradivari Violin, the
  • Stradivari Violin, the
  • Stradivari Violin, the
  • Stradivari Violin, the
Smithsonian Museum
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
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.
Currently not on view
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 Type