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Gasparo Bertolotti 'da Salò'

One of the most important founding fathers of the Italian school of violin making, Gaspar Bertolotti was born in Salò in the province of Brescia in 1540. His family were known as musicians, and were contemporary there with the Virchi family of instrument makers. By 1563 he was established in Brescia, and his workshop clearly flourished. Considerable numbers of his instruments survive, including citterns and many types of viol, as well as violins, a few cellos, and the violas for which he is best known today. He was assisted by his son Francesco, Jacopo Lanfranchi, and from 1598 by Giovanni Paolo Maggini, who succeeded to the workshop after Gaspar’s death in 1609. Stylistically, Gaspar’s work is characterised by generally full, rounded archinngs, large open soundholes and rather rough-hewn scrolls. He frequently used double rows of purfling, with other decorative patterns incorporated. Important surviving works include the highly decorated violin preserved in the Bergen Museum, Norway, previously owned by Ole Bull, and a well preserved and uncut large viola in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.

Gasparo Bertolotti 'da Salò'

(b Salo, c1540; d 1609)

One of the most important founding fathers of the Italian school of violin making, Gaspar Bertolotti was born in Salò in the province of Brescia in 1540. His family were known as musicians, and were contemporary there with the Virchi family of instrument makers. By 1563 he was established in Brescia, and his workshop clearly flourished. Considerable numbers of his instruments survive, including citterns and many types of viol, as well as violins, a few cellos, and the violas for which he is best known today. He was assisted by his son Francesco, Jacopo Lanfranchi, and from 1598 by Giovanni... Read more

Instruments for sale in our Private Sales

A cello by Gasparo Bertolotti ‘da Salò’

Brescia, circa 1600

Considered to be one of the greatest Brescian makers, Gasparo Bertolotti ‘da Salò’ set up his workshop in the early 1560s. During his career, which spanned more than four decades,... read more

A cello by Gasparo Bertolotti ‘da Salò’

Brescia, circa 1600

Considered to be one of the greatest Brescian makers, Gasparo Bertolotti ‘da Salò’ set up his workshop in the early 1560s. During his career, which spanned more than four decades, he made various types of stringed instruments.This cello, dating from circa 1600, is a fascinating example of Da Salò’s work, one of only three or four cellos known to survive, and probably the only one which retains its original dimensions. It has a captivating sound with a uniquely dark range of colours.

Articles

A cello by Gasparo Bertolotti ‘da Salò’

22 August 2022 - Dilworth, John

This cello is an extraordinary and fascinating instrument. It is probably unique in form and condition, and of great historical significance in the history of the cello. In Life of Stradivari the Hills point out the importance of Maggini in... Read more

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