Italy System-Amati Family (Amati Family)

The Cremona school of luthiers still holds an extremely important place in history, but at the time when luthiers first began appearing in the region, there were also many other schools throughout Europe. Unfortunately, most of the schools of luthiers no longer exist. Luthier schools meticulously researched all the raw materials and the quality of wood used in making the instruments as well as the bows. The establishment of the Cremona school of luthiers was highly significant for later generations of luthiers. Since the Renaissance starting in the 14th century, commercial activity was rapidly growing, and the violin trade and the sale of violins was also expanding. The diverse market for violin family instruments included governments, churches as well as commoners, allowing the industry to flourish and thrive. In each school of luthiers, it was common to see entire families or at least fathers passing on the tradition of violin making to posterity. The Armati family of luthiers is second to none.

Andrea Amati was the first of the Amati family to start making violins. He was born in 1505, and by 1525 he was already working as a luthier. In 1538 he opened up his own luthier studio, which represented just the beginning of a family enterprise for the Amati family. By the middle of the 16th century, Andrea had already become a renowned luthier, and after he died his two sons, Antonio Amati (c. 1540-1607) and Girolamo Amati (c. 1550-1630) , continued the family tradition, carrying on the life of this school using the Amati family name. Between 1580 and 1630, it is estimated that the Amati family's violins took up a huge portion of the violin market, and also greatly influenced later luthier schools.

Nicolo Amati (1596-1684) was the son of Girolamo, making him a third-generation luthier in the Amati family continuing the family tradition. In the 1630s, Nicolo was without a doubt the most outstanding luthier teacher at the Cremona school. His pupils included such famous violin makers as Adrea Guarneri, Antonio Stradivari, and Francesco Ruggieri, who all went on to become important masters of modern violin making. Although the Brescia region of Lombardy in northern Italy also produced a lot of competitors in the violin making industry, it was the Amati family’s contribution which gave Cremona a competitive advantage over other regions. Their designs and methods for making instruments are still affirmed by people today.

When Nicolo Amati died in 1684, Girolamo II Amati (1649-1740) took over the family business and carried on the family tradition. However, since there were not very many members of the family that worked as luthiers, and since the making of violins had spread to other areas of Italy such as Milan, Venice, Bologna, Rome and Naples, the family business eventually ceased. With fiercely intense competition, Girolamo II traveled to distant lands in 1697, and moved to Piacenza until he finally returned to Cremona in 1715. From then until he died in 1740, he rarely made any instruments and the Amati family tradition of being a luthier died with him.