28th March 2017
3 instruments by Pietro Guarneri 'Of Venice'
Pietro Guarneri, son of Giuseppe filius Andreæ, left his native Cremona around 1717, having assisted in the family workshop for about 10 years. At that time, the dominance of Stradivari was probably strangling the Casa Guarneri, and Pietro would have been aware that if he was to be successful, his future lay elsewhere. His move to the bustling musical city of Venice was a brave one, given the plethora of violin makers active there at the time, but his family name and the reputation of Cremona would have helped him to establish himself.
He worked for Matteo Sellas for sixteen years, from 1717 to 1733, sitting alongside Carlo Tononi for a time, and the first instruments bearing his own label date from around 1725. In 1733 he established his own shop, and the next fifteen years or so saw the production of his best instruments.
Despite his Cremonese heritage, Pietro successfully incorporated the flamboyance of the Venetian style into his work, and it is this skilful combination of the traditions of Cremona and Venice that is his legacy. The swing of the f-holes on the circa 1745 violin is distinctly Venetian, as is the deep red of the varnish on the 1725 cello. His bold, deeply cut scrolls, however, owe much to his father (compare Pietro’s circa 1745 scroll with his father’s circa 1705 scroll).