Numerous artefacts from Antonio Stradivari’s workshop are currently preserved in the “Museo del Violino” (Museum of the Violin) in Cremona, Italy. A large number of them are paper models containing instructions and technical notes by the great violin maker. After his death, this collection has had several owners, while new annotations added to the original ones, sometimes imitating Stradivari’s handwriting, caused problems of authenticity. The attribution of these relics is a complex task and, until now, only a small part of them has been examined by palaeographers. This paper introduces a multi-analytical approach able to facilitate the study of handwriting in manuscripts with the combined use of image processing and X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy: the former provides a fast and automatic screening of documents; the latter allows to analyse the chemical composition of inks. For our tests, 17 paper relics, dated between 1684 and 1729, were chosen. Palaeographic analysis was used as reference. The results obtained showed the validity of the combined approach proposed herein: the two techniques proved to be complementary and useful to clarify the attribution of different pieces of handwriting.
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