Amati, renowned family of Italian violin makers working at Cremona. Andrea Amati (b. between 1500 and 1505; d. before 1580) was the first violin maker of the family. He established the prototype of Italian instruments, with characteristics found in modern violins. His sons were Antonio Amati (b. c. 1538; d. c. 1595), who built violins of varying sizes, and Girolamo Amati (b. c. 1561; d. Nov. 2, 1630), who continued the tradition established by his father, and worked together with his brother, Antonio. Nicola, or Niccolo Amati (b. Dec. 3, 1596; d. April 12, 1684), was the most illustrious of the Amati family. He was the son of Girolamo Amati, and signed his labels “Nicolaus Amati Cremonens, Hieronimi filius Antonü nepos.” He built some of the “grand Amatis,” large violins of powerful tone surpassing in clarity and purity those made by his father and his grandfather, Andrea. In Nicola’s workshop both Andrea Guarneri and Antonio Stradivari received their training. Girolamo Amati (b. Feb. 26, 1649; d. Feb. 21, 1740), son of Nicola and the last of the family, produced violins inferior to those of his father, his grandfather, and his great-grandfather. In his work, he departed from the family tradition in many respects and seemed to be influenced by Stradivari’s method without equaling his superb workmanship.
C. Bonetti, La genealogia degli A., luitai, e il primato della scuola liutistica cremonese (Cremona, 1938; Eng. tr., 1989, as A Genealogy of the A. Family Violin Makers, 1500-1740)
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire