Giuseppe Guarneri ‘del Gesù’

Cremona, 1698-1744

Inspired by Bartolomeo Giuseppe Guarneri ‚del Gesù‘, Violin, Cremona, c. 1744, the ‚Leduc‘

Giuseppe Guarneri ‘del Gesù’ trained with his father, Giuseppe Guarneri filius Andreœ, and assisted him from about 1714 until 1722. In that year he left his father’s house to get married, and seems to have forsaken violin making for a few years. The earliest known instruments that are entirely his own work date from the late 1720s, but it was not until 1731 that he began to insert the label with the monogram IHS (‘Iesus Hominem Salvator’: ‘Jesus Saviour of Man’), which gave rise to his nickname ‘del Gesù’. He seems to have been strongly influenced by the Brescian school, and his work combines the best of the Cremonese tradition with the stretched C-bouts and exaggerated f-holes of Maggini und da SalÒ. Tonally, his instruments retain much of the sweetness of a Stradivari, but have a seemingly unlimited depth and darkness of sound, irrespective of the pressure of the bow.*

*Text from the book Four Centuries of Violin Making/ Fine Instruments from the Sotheby’s Archive.

Violin inspired by Bartolomeo Giuseppe Guarneri ‚del Gesù‘, Violin, Cremona, c. 1744, the ‚Leduc‘

Believed by many to be Guarneri’s last work, based on the authentic label dated 1745, a year after del Gesù’s death. Hargrave suggests that the instrument may have been completed and labeled by Guarneri’s wife Katarina Rota. This theory is supported by several historical references. Fetis notes that Carlo Bergonzi II (the grandson of the great violin-maker) had mentioned that del Gesù’s wife had assisted her husband, though Fetis didn’t know the name of the wife. And Petherick wrote in 1905 that he had seen an instrument with a 1749 Cremona label by „Katerina Guarneria“. He also had no way of knowing that del Gesù’s wife’s first name was Katarina, and that because she was from Vienna, she would have been more likely to spell her name with a ‚K‘ than with a ‚C‘ as most Italians did.

*Text from Tariso | Carlos Chiesa, John Dilworth, Roger Graham Hargrave, Stewart Pollens, Duane Rosengard & Eric Wen, Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesú (2 volumes), London