Santo Serafin moved from his home town to Venice in 1721, although he may have already trained as a violin maker in Udine with Francesco Goffriller. Serafin’s earliest labels date from around 1725 but he did not set up his own shop until 1733, so he may well have worked in some of the other Venetian workshops during that period.
His work draws much from Amati, and both the circa 1735 and 1739 violins featured here show the Amati influence, particularly in the f-holes and the scroll, but are not without a recognisably Venetian flair. Serafin is regarded as the most elegant of the great Venetian makers and the accuracy of his work, combined with his use of beautiful wood, make his instruments some of the most physically attractive to emanate from Venice at this time.
The circa 1740 violin is a rare example of a Stradivari copy, this time modelled on the ‘Long Pattern’ of the 1690s. Serafin’s cellos are also extremely well regarded, though not a match for those of his contemporaries, Montagnana and Matteo Goffriller.
Serafin retired from the violin makers’ guild in 1744, and seems to have made only a few instruments after this date, although he lived for another decade and a half.
09 November 2018
Cello by Giovanni Battista Guadagnini, Turin, 1783 Sold for £1,930,000 – estimate £1,000,000-1,500,000 Cello by Santo Serafin, Venice, circa 1741 Sold for £610,000 – estimate £500,000-700,000
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