Matthias Albani, 1634-1712

Matthias Albani (1634-1712) was the greatest luthier in Tyrol during the 18th century. His early work has a pure Tyrol style, and shows how Jacob Stainer influenced him; however, eventually he followed Italian models. When he was alive, his violins were thought to be on equal footing with Amati and Stainer. Albani exhibited outstanding craftmanship, and was scrupulous in his selection of wood. He usually used deep reddish brown varnishes, and the instruments he produced as well as his varnishes had a deep impact upon the Venice school of violin making.

Instruments with Albani’s name on them are numerous, and many of them actually came from common 18th century German factories, which means merchants illegally used his name. Fake labels start appearing after 1640, while real labels do not appear until 1690. Albani was active in Bolzano. He did not get married until 1671, and after his first wife died he got remarried in 1680. After he died, his sons Johann Albani (1677-1730) and Joseph Albani (1680-1722) completed a lot of his unfinished works.