Biography of Giuseppe Giovanni Battista Guarneri (1666-1739)

Italian instrument maker, born 25 November 1666 in Cremona and died in the same town in 1739 (some sources cite 1740). Youngest son of Andrea Guarneri, was the only one of seven children who remained in Cremona as confidence in the parental Tools workshop. in fact, it was Giuseppe who inherited the House and the family business on the death of Andrea in 1698. The distinctive touch of their doing, where he is more detected the influence of his brother Pietro who his own father, began to manifest itself from 1680. Specifically, a series of magnificent cellos dating approximately from the Decade of 1690 seem to have been the first manufactured entirely by Giuseppe or, at least, according to its unique guidelines.

Giuseppe Giovanni Guarneri has among the largest manufacturers of violins of all-time, while it was not live an easy time. For starters, in Cremona were stirring times; the Austrians took the city in 1707 and were gradually replaced Spain as the dominant power in Italy. In addition, on the Guarneri he planned to the omnipresent shadow of Antonio Stradivarius; like Andrea, his father, had had to see how more substantial orders were for its rival Nicolò Amati, so also his son had it be relegated to a position of second son with respect to Stradivarius. However, despite that second job, the truth is that his legacy are some of the finest violins ever made. It seems that his father is dead, not manufactured any viola, but some of their cellos, instruments that, views of different forms and dimensions of the preserved specimens, the luthier devoted a remarkable interest are preserved.

Frequently, materials that used Giuseppe in his early works were rather ordinary; but, just before the will change the century, learned to reddish orange used by his brother Pietro and varnish which gave the instruments a much smarter than her father's appearance. In this way, it was gradually perfecting his technique over the following two decades, until many of its instruments were at the head of its time in all aspects.

Although he lived for twenty years, no known violins with original tag by Giuseppe dating after 1720. Since approximately 1715 onwards was the substantial assistance of his two sons, Pietro Guarneri, who later moved to Venice, and Bartolomeo Giuseppe Guarneri, known as Giuseppe del Gesù and that is perhaps the most recognized and prestigious family member. Precisely, the violins that date back to the last five years (1715-1720) are those whose sound has best withstood the passage of time, which some like to call them "the first of the Gesù" is why.


HILL, W. H. The Violin Makers of the Guarneri Family. (London, 1931).

VANNES, R. Dictionnaire universel des luthiers. (Paris, 1951).