Guarneri Family - Violin Makers

The Guarneri family is a contemporary of the Amati family and Antonius Stradivarius. The tradition of violin making spans 3 generations with the best coming last. It started with Andreas Guarneri.

was an apprentice in the workshop of Nicolo Amati from 1641 to 1646 and returned to make violins for Amati from 1650 to 1654. The quality of his violins was not as sophisticated as his grandson's but he was prolific and produced 250 violins. He also produced 2 sons.

Pietro Giovanni Guarneri (1655 - 1720)

worked in his father's workshop from around 1670 until 1677. By 1683 he had set up in another town called Mantua and worked as a musician and as a luthier. When he did work making violins, he made very nice violins but he did not make very many due to commitment to his other career.

Giuseppe Giovanni Battista Guarneri (1666 - 1739 or 1740)

joined his father's business in Cremona, inheriting it in 1698. He is among the great violin makers, although he struggled to compete with Stradivari and his work though excellent was overshadowed by other family members. He also was father to two sons.

Pietro Guarneri (April 14, 1695 - April 7, 1762)

apprenticed in the family business. Like in the Amati family there seemed a rift in this generation. He left Cremona for good in 1718, eventually settling in Venice. Here he blended the Cremonese techniques of his father with Venetian. Examples of his work are rare and value is disputed.

Bartolomeo Giuseppe Guarneri (del Gesù) (1698-1744)

Joseph Guarnerius del Gesu is the final and most famous member of this violin making family. His violins are considered at least as if not more desirable than Stradivarius' violins. Approximately 150 of his violins are known to exist.

He borrowed the best of his contemporary's techniques. The outline of his violins, with slight modifications, is founded on instruments of Antonio Stradivari. Modeling of the back and table are noticeably flattened, seemingly inspired by Maggini. The F holes are of Stradivari form but are usually elongated, more open, and less refined. The carefully applied oil varnish is soft in quality and of light texture, with the color varying between pale orange and orange-brown with, occasionally, a reddish tint.

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