Stradivarius Liberatus

Stradivarius Liberatus: free to view yet never heard.

The Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, England, houses a violin created by Antonio Stradivari, an Italian craftsman of stringed instruments who lived over 350 years ago.

This highly valued object hangs suspended within a secure glass cabinet. The wood that was chosen for its tone and musical quality is unique. The craftsman may have spent up to three months on the instrument’s creation.

The violin makes no sound without movement - the still air within the crystal clear chamber that protects it is maintained at a constant humidity and temperature.

The image is difficult to make out. We search for detail yet only find the grains of shadow and light. The chamber’s form that hosts the instrument is ambiguous, as is the title of the work: Stradivarius Liberatus.

Liberatus: the perfect passive participle of the Latin word “līberō”, meaning liberate.

The perfect passive participle is a part of speech present in Latin that is absent in English. It is a verb describing something that happened to a noun.

The motivation for this work is as a response to the sale of a photo of a potato that was purchased for one million dollars. The subtext of Stradivarius Liberatus is a commentary on the value of art. This work is given freely to bring home the point that the value of something is often far removed from its price.

Download Stradivarius Liberatus [18.8 MB]

A full size extract from the work follows: