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There are endless intricacies, variations, proportional differences and three-dimensional improvisations that go way beyond what we mortals are able to see — scrolls can be delicate or heavy, protruding or relatively flat, with a big or small "eye" center , flowing downwards or upwards…. And these oh-so-subtle differences make the scrolls of each violin maker uniquely his.

The Red Mendelssohn Stradivarius

Not only that — the scrolls are one of the places that experts in violin evaluation look to decide whether this particular instrument is, in fact, a really valuable antique or whether it's just the old, used instrument you happened to find in your grandparents' attic, and wildly hopes that maybe, just maybe, you had stumbled across a long-lost Stradivari…. Since I am far from being one of those experts, I want to share with you what I find so magical about the scrolls: it's Yonatan's ability to three-dimensionally-imagine the perfect curve of the snail figure, and then to actually take a block of raw maple wood and turn it into that perfect, totally symmetrical, completely flawless, flowing form.

Honestly — I still have trouble drawing a good two-dimensional circle… so seeing this process amazes me time and again.


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And thus, without further ado, I turn the stage over to pictures that will much better describe this amazing process:. And beginning to slowly, patiently, sculpture the scroll, based on nothing but the eye's perception and evaluation:. Thanks for sharing,. Thanks for the description, and the wonderful photos.

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I have seen many pictures of scrolls in various stages but it always seemed to me that too much wood was being cut out at the sides. Your pictures taken from different angles are perfect. And I don't know why, but I was always reading "chiocolotta" as "cioccolata" and your adjectives did sound like descriptions of chocolate! Are you planning to photo-document the creation of the cello scroll, also?

Fran - the pictures are actually a combination of scrolls taken from the cello and the viola But we do know that it was created by Antonio Stradivari in in Italy. The relatively new violin then disappeared for two hundred years. Theories abound about what happened to it, but no one knows for sure until it turned up in Germany in the s. It was bought by one of the descendants of Felix Mendelssohn before being sold again in to an American industrialist.

What is the story of the Red Violin? Is the movie based on fact?

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Most of it is speculation on the part of the writers. Because the full history of the violin is unknown, and, at the time, it was not known that Elizabeth Pitcairn, the current owner, had bought the violin. The movie is not considered based on fact. This is not true.

Ex-wife accused of wrecking US$1 million violin collection

There are still parts of this original varnish in place, even after almost three hundred years so it would be easy to put it paid to the notion in the movie about blood being used to stain it. It is a testament to the craftsmanship of the piece and the exquisite care that has been taken with the violin over the years, that it still carries traces of the original varnish. One thing is clear, it was a well-loved instrument and clearly valued highly by its different owners. When newly finished, it would have been a very light wood, close to white in color.

The Italian Violin Makers Vettori Family

The violin would then have been left in the sun for a few days to weeks to allow it to dry completely. This would darken it naturally. Once completely dry, the violin would be coated in a mineral-rich varnish that helps to harden the wood and to bring out the natural color of it and to stain it slightly.

The red color of the violin is due to the application of this varnish. It was one way to help differentiate instruments from different makers.


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  7. The theory is that red was also a highly popular color amongst the aristocracy at the time and this could also have influenced his choice. That the violin ended up in the hands of a prodigy living in America in the movie was a spooky coincidence in real life.