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Guarneri Violins

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Guarneri (sometimes Guarnieri) is the family name of a group of highly acclaimed violin makers (luthiers) from Cremona in Italy in the 17th and 18th centuries, whose standing is considered to be alongside the Amati and Stradivari families.

Andrea Guarneri (born c. 1626, died 7 December 1698) was an apprentice in the Amati workshop with Antonio Stradivari.

* Andrea's sons, notably including Pietro Giovanni Guarnieri (also known as Peter of Mantua to distinguish him from his nephew) (born 25 November 1666, died 1740), continued the father's traditions.

* The second son of Andrea, Giuseppe Guarneri (born 1666, died circa 1740) made instruments in Cremona and was father to two other instrument makers:

* Pietro Guarneri (Peter of Venice), (born 14 April 1695, died 7 April 1762), moved to Venice in about 1720 and adopted Venetian techniques into his own violin making.

* Bartolomeo Giuseppe Antonio Guarnieri, also known as Joseph (=Giuseppe) (born 21 August 1698, died 17 October 1744), has been called the finest violin maker of the Amati line. Giuseppe is known as del Gesu because his labels always incorporated the characters I.H.S. (Iesu Hominum Salvator) and a Roman cross. His instruments deviated significantly from family tradition, becoming uniquely his own style, and are considered second in quality only to those of Stradivari and argued by some to be superior. The famed violin virtuoso Nicolo Paganini’s favorite instrument was a Guarneri del Gesu violin of 1743, and the "Lord Wilton" Guarneri del Gesù violin made in 1742 and was owned by Yehudi Menuhin.

The Guarneri family's history may be somewhat uncertain. One Guarneri source says, "Giuseppe del Gesu and Peter of Venice may have been cousins rather than brothers, and Peter of Venice may have been the son of Peter of Mantua."

A famous Guarnerius violin known as the Cannone Guarnerius was owned by the famous virtuoso Nicolo Paganini.


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