When prof. Marco Tiella sent me this picture and I saw, in 1997, what condition it was in - a recurring thought came back - all of these antique violins have something in common. I can hardly imagine any newly built violin wrecked like that and still sounding well.
Probably the myth
of italian varnish was born out of wrecked violins just like that poor Stradivari. However now it is also known that much of the miraculous "italian" varnish is mostly the result of now living repairmen or those of the 19th century.
As a teenager talking to my violin-making Master Yakimenko in St.Petersburg in 1988 I wondered what this mysterious "common thing" could have been as it had obviously nothing to do with the graduations, Khladni patterns, accurate thicknessing, varnish, tuning of plates, use of computers and all that obsession with vanitas vanitatum.
In the end, I wonder, if it's not just the right touch of the hand that makes all the difference - just like that in playing the violins. The magic of art?