Storioni, who was born in Cremona in 1744 and died there in 1816, is widely credited with sustaining the great Cremonese tradition through the late eighteenth century. Following the deaths of the greatest masters – Antonio Stradivari, Guarneri del Gesù and Carlo Bergonzi – within ten years between 1737 and 1747, the only remaining practitioners with any first-hand knowledge of the processes of the masters were Michele Angelo Bergonzi, who himself died in 1758, and his younger brother Zosimo, who has left very little evidence of his activity. Storioni’s family home was close to that of the Rugeri family, and Francesco (II) and Carlo (II) Rugeri, sons of Vincenzo, were still extant, and although not known to be active violin makers, may have provoked Storioni’s early interest. He was working as a maker from 1768 and is mentioned in the diaries of Count Cozio di Salabue in 1775. A viola d’amore made by him on designs left by Stradivari indicates that he had access to the Stradivari workshop at that time, prior to the sale of the contents to Cozio in 1776. Although his work is generally quite personal and a little crude by the standard of the old masters, he clearly made close consideration of the patterns of Stradivari and del Gesù. From 1782 to 1786 he was assisted by Giovanni Rota and in 1787 he had a workshop in Casa Bolzesi in the contrada Coltellai, where he was joined by Nicola Bergonzi, the son of Zosimo, in 1790. Between 1802 and 1810 he made frequent trips away from Cremona, during which time he made at least one instrument, labelled from ‘Flumio’, present-day Rijeka in Croatia. There is no known work dated after 1804 and his position in Cremona seems to have been taken by G.B. Ceruti.
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