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Michele Deconet


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Rick,

You've hit the nail on the head. One can not really understand this topic without an understanding of the instruments themselves. If you start with the presumption that there is no cohesive body of work as Pio did, then you are more likely to grope for evidence that will support your confusion. An exhibit would be a great idea, but it would also be helpful to do a full technical analysis as John Becker did for the Bergonzi exhibition for instance. Even then, it is even more helpful to have a hands on study of an even broader range of a makers work than is typically shown in an exhibition.

Jacob,

I did not claim that Pio has not contributed to the conversation and I have read all of his books, actually. (more than once) I would point out that not one person who has been a proponent of the"Pio Doctrine" in this thread has made any substantive response to Duane's two detailed posts. I believe this thread (which I find more interesting than most Maestronet threads) will come to a pitiable close without a constructive discussion on topic. I'm not at all interested in dealing with accusations of ulterior motives and other such conspiracy theorists. (Sorry Stephen, Norman, etc)

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Rick,

You've hit the nail on the head. One can not really understand this topic without an understanding of the instruments themselves. If you start with the presumption that there is no cohesive body of work as Pio did, then you are more likely to grope for evidence that will support your confusion. An exhibit would be a great idea, but it would also be helpful to do a full technical analysis as John Becker did for the Bergonzi exhibition for instance. Even then, it is even more helpful to have a hands on study of an even broader range of a makers work than is typically shown in an exhibition.

Jacob,

I did not claim that Pio has not contributed to the conversation and I have read all of his books, actually. (more than once) I would point out that not one person who has been a proponent of the"Pio Doctrine" in this thread has made any substantive response to Duane's two detailed posts. I believe this thread (which I find more interesting than most Maestronet threads) will come to a pitiable close without a constructive discussion on topic. I'm not at all interested in dealing with accusations of ulterior motives and other such conspiracy theorists. (Sorry Stephen, Norman, etc)

Chris,

I'm replying with all due respect to both you and Duane, but Duane's two detailed posts are nothing but straw men with fallacies of distraction. The "deafening silence" is because neither one of you have yet made a coherent response to post #166. Perhaps you should tell us your views of what the operational guild and commercial rules were in Venice during Deconet's lifetime, because your original claim that guild rules affected only merchants makes no sense given the evidence. Then we can all judge for ourselves whether that narrative lines up with the documentary evidence found in the archives.

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Re Post 183,

I imagine most of us did notice the extra writing on the label. But I, for one, didn't enlarge the picture until just now, so I didn't realize it's the verso. That is great to see.

Chris, do you have any idea what the other writing says (I suppose if you did, you would have said :-) ). I cannot make it out at all.

As to the touch up of the letters, is it a "type-printed" label with touch up, or completely by hand with pen, and, for some reason, two different inks? Very interesting any way we look at it. But if it is entirely by hand, would that tell us anything about the man or his situation?

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Will,

The first letter is hard to read but the others are "..rope". I suspect it is "Prope..." The label is printed and the ink touching up the letters matches the manuscript of "Setembre" and the last two digits of the date. (perhaps the third digit was printed and then partially scratched out by Deconet to change it from a 6 to an 8?)

Flyboy,

As usual, you are exhausting. If you actually read through Duane's posts, I am confounded that you did not understand his points. Maybe you tripped over some of his colorful language like "Pol Pot" and didn't get to the substance?

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Chris,

I'm replying with all due respect to both you and Duane, but Duane's two detailed posts are nothing but straw men with fallacies of distraction. The "deafening silence" is because neither one of you have yet made a coherent response to post #166. Perhaps you should tell us your views of what the operational guild and commercial rules were in Venice during Deconet's lifetime, because your original claim that guild rules affected only merchants makes no sense given the evidence. Then we can all judge for ourselves whether that narrative lines up with the documentary evidence found in the archives.

Flyboy, have another read... in the case of Deconet, and in other cases too, there are people who made instruments in Venice whilst not at the time, or never at all members of the guild. Without engaging in full-blown research into the history of guilds at the time (which would be an enormous task), the relationship between the guilds and violin makers is nevertheless self-evidently lax, allowing makers to be active outside of its formal powers. This is well demonstrated within Duane's writings. You are once again, pulling this thread around in circles.

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Flyboy,

As usual, you are exhausting. If you actually read through Duane's posts, I am confounded that you did not understand his points. Maybe you tripped over some of his colorful language like "Pol Pot" and didn't get to the substance?

You'll just have to take my word that I've read Duane's posts several times and was not fixated on his reference to "Pol Pot." I fail to see how under whose name "articles of incorporation" was formed, whether under Guarneri Jr. or Serafin Jr., or that a shopkeeper had instruments from other makers (were they employees or not?), has anything to do with the substantive issues raised in post #166, or more importantly, establishes Deconet was a maker himself. Perhaps you can explain it to me.

Incidentally, there is also documentary evidence of how often Marzeri guild officers made the rounds. It's rather difficult to come to the conclusion based on that documentation (and the appeals) that the Marzeri were "lax" in enforcing the rules. If I were in the shoes of a Venetian shopkeeper of that period and if someone else had an unfair competitive tax advantage of routinely selling under the table I'd be screaming bloody murder.

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Well, here goes!

The "setembre is written and read from the front, but the "prop_" is written and read from the back. I think I'm right about that. Because it is gibberish from the front, to me, but quite legible from the verso. I can't find my Italian dictionary but proprio motu in Latin means "by one's own motion or initiative." No matter what, it's interesting that deconet would put a little note on the back. Off the top, I'd think it might mean he was showing it was HE who made the additions to the letters, or that it was he who made the instrument. (Just a theory)

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I believe this thread (which I find more interesting than most Maestronet threads) will come to a pitiable close without a constructive discussion on topic. I'm not at all interested in dealing with accusations of ulterior motives and other such conspiracy theorists. (Sorry Stephen, Norman, etc)

Perhaps you missed my last post, Chris -

I think it's valid not to accept out of hand, without question, the status quo, not in an irrational or conspiracy theory fashion of course, but so as to get to the root of the matter at times. To reveal the unvarnished truth apart from any agenda that might exist (I'm not saying one exists here, I don't believe one does).

Norman hinted at an agenda ("motive"), but didn't elaborate. I don't know for sure what he refers to; don't put us in the same category, please.

I attempted to be conciliatory in my last post in response to your apology; I am baffled now as to why you are attacking, ad hominem, again. I will say this, however - I have found your posts, some of Ben's, and some of Duane's to be very interesting and well phrased but marred by condescension and attempting to belittle other posters, starting with Professor Pio. I will say it again - it is not necessary (in fact, it could even weaken credibility and raise questions) to ridicule or malign the people you may disagree with. Shall I cite a page worth of examples?

Respectfully,

Stephen

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Shall we, please, stick to the subject?

One can not really understand this topic without an understanding of the instruments themselves.

I agree. While I may not have performed as thorough a study of the body of work as a few specific contributors here, nor spent the hours required in the archives, I have seen a good number of these instruments... and mentioned my own observations back in post #7 (wow... 11 pages ago).

I am aware that some disagree with my observations, or feel that the body of work is less important than the conclusions based on archival discoveries, but I feel that each must in some way support the other.

In the case of Lorenzo Guadagnini, which was mentioned once or twice along the trail, clarification of the body of work supported the archival data. As a matter of fact, I imagine that the instruments themselves, falling into specific, well defined subsets, may have aided in inspiring the archival research in the first place.

Thus far, I don't see that that is the case with our present character in Venice.

Misattribution of Deconet instruments seems not to be a rare occurrence... quite the opposite... and therefore the body of work requires careful, selective, definition through direct examination of the instruments and study of existing original labels... Without employing this process, conclusions based upon too wide a range of (inaccurate) attribution has the potential for creating some serious difficulty in the interpretation of data... and has the potential to interfere with the collection and presentation of it.

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Dear fellow bloggers:

Jeff Holmes should be congratulated for his patience and forbearance in keeping this thread on topic.

The remark I made earlier on my impression of Mr. Pio’s book was not intended to inflame anyone, or augment current anxiety over the Greek government and the German Prime Minister. If we take a look back at page 3 of this thread, Mr. Pio posted as point 6 of his doctrine:

  • “It was impossible to make instruments secretly for a so long time (even for a short time) without to be discovered and punished by the Venetian authority. Control was strict ….”

This hardly seems like the description of artisan friendly European Union!

For those interested, the uncensored Stefano Pio “Doctrine” is given on page three of this thread in seven points posted on 01 December 2012 - 10:02 AM

I hoped to learn who on this thread has taken the trouble to read any of Mr. Pio’s books. So far, Chris Reuning, Mr. Holmes, Ben Hebbert, Jacob Saunders and myself have made public confessions. But that should not deter any and all from chiming in.

Surely someone on Maestronet could explain how and why the career or surviving output of the great Carlo Tononi “fits” into the Pio Doctrine.

Way back on 30 November, Mr. Pio wrote on this thread “I am also waiting and looking for future publications giving evidence and proof that Deconet was a violin maker.”

Can someone on Maestronet let me know what would constitute “evidence and proof” that Antonio Stradivari and Giuseppe Guarneri “del Gesù”, to name only two of many, were also violinmakers? It was not until the 1990s (!) that Gian Paolo Gregori found the first-ever document in a Cremonese archive describing Stradivari as a maker of violins. After years of research in the same city, no one, myself included, has found documentary proof that Guarneri had any job, let alone that of luthier.

But back to poor Deconet, who has been singled out as an easy target for uninformed guesswork.

Chris Reuning’s latest posts on Deconet labels are, in my opinion, extremely useful for one of the central themes of this discussion. An old instrument, with a label of old paper upon which is unfamiliar handwriting, presents a challenge. The 1780 label bears handwriting on the obverse that was evidently cut off when the label itself was cut or trimmed. As for the typeset, the photo shows me that 1) if it was composed by a professional typographer, it was an imperfect job (line alignment, kerning, etc.) and 2) the characters were either old or dulled. Through use or an improper set on the block, the uneven contact between the heads of the characters and the paper led the author to touch up the printed letters in ink. Remember, too, that we are looking at a photo with a concave distortion.

Since some bloggers, including very experienced ones, expressed an inability to interpret certain Deconet documents discussed previously on this thread, I thought it proper to make a further effort to share the source material.

In a previous post, I listed the documents that do NOT state a profession for Deconet.

Below I offer refreshed English translations of 5 documents from the office of the Patriarch of Venice, the maximum religious authority in Venice.

Note the context. Priests or officers of Canon Law prepared these documents. The portions in quotations are verbatim testimonies given by witnesses to establish the marital freedom of an individual or individuals.

Note the chronology expressed by the various informants.

Despite all the blogging about Deconet’s exciting travels, and Mr. Pio’s description of his “nomadic and adventurous spirit”, please observe the constancy of Deconet’s presence in Venice.

A) The document preceding Deconet’s first marriage to the widow Anna Chiaparoto in January 1743 begins with a long preamble: Deconet is about 30 years old. He left home in Kiel at about age 14 [c. 1727 by this reckoning] and went to Paris for about two years, and then came to “Venice, where he has resided until the present, not however continuously, being that he went to various cities of the mainland because of his profession of player [instrumentalist], from all of which places, as also from his homeland, he left free [of marital obligations]…” The witnesses were an oboist and a grain porter who testified to having known Deconet and his bride-to-be for more than a decade. Each witness cites various towns where Deconet was seen on his travels.

The document concludes with Deconet’s sworn and signed declaration that he has not engaged in bigamy and told the truth about his unmarried status. Deconet married Anna Chiaparoto on 30 January 1743 in his parish church of S. Giovanni in Bragorà, Venice. On the following 30 November she died after a 40 hour illness in the village of Palazzolo, between Verona and the Lago di Garda. Michaelis de Conet “Venetiarum incole” [Venetian inhabitant] was with her and attended to her burial in the church of Santa Giustina in Palazzolo.

The following testimony shows that Deconet returned to Venice.

B) 26 June 1744: Before his second marriage Deconet returned to the office of the Patriarch of Venice for pre-marital clearance.

Antonio Mioli states “I came here at the instance of Michiel Conet to be examined about his present marital status [‘stato libero’].” “I have known [Conet] for 4 – 5 years, because he lives in S Giovanni Bragora, where since 7-8 months until now he has resided continually.”

Gaetano Pavanello states “I came here at the instance of Michiel de Connet to give testimony of his present marital status [‘stato libero’].” “I have known him since I came to Venice, living in the same parish, and from last November until now he has never left this City.”

C) 3 Feb. 1764: Deconet himself testifies on behalf of his daughter Matilde: “I have kept and raised my said daughter in my home until now, nor has she ever left Venice.” Matilde was born in February 1745.

D) 14 Feb. 1771: Deconet the “violin player” again testifies, this time on behalf of his daughter Teresa who was baptised on 6 June 1753: “I have come to attest the free marital status of my daughter Teresa to marry Gaspar Soranzo.” “Since she was born, my said daughter resided in Venice and in my own home, excepting from her fourth year of age until her seventh when she was taken far from this city by me.”

On the same occasion, GB Locatello states: “Now it is ten years that said Teresa together with her father live in my own own house from where they never left.”

The absence to which Deconet alludes would appear, at face value, to encompass the years from approximately 1756/57 until 1759/60. In fact, one of Deconet’s sons was baptised in April 1756 in the same Venetian parish where the family spent decades. But his friend and landlord Soranzo informs us that the Deconets were there continuously in the 1760s.

Deconet’s failure to mention his “absence” in his testimony of 1764 is impossible to justify with our present knowledge, unless his family was divided for a time.

E) 26 Feb. 1780: Deconet’s second wife died on 2 June 1777 and prior to his third marriage he went through another pre-marital examination.

Girolamo Zanchi states: “I have come at the instance of Michiel de Conet and Maria Briganti widow of Celega to attest their freedom [to marry].” “I began 15 years ago to frequent the Bragora, and I know them by going often to said Michiel to study the vioin ... they never left Venice.” Another witness, Francesco Arrati, was a friend of Zanchi and through him had known Deconet for about 10 years.

Zanchi’s testimony is framed chronologically from June 1777 (when Deconet's second wife died) to February 1780, which forms an interesting counterpoint to the viola label of 1780. Deconet's “nomadic nature” goes unmentioned, though I would not presume he re-invented himself as a prototype for Dorothy Delay.

From the above examples, the general impression I get is that he was mostly in Venice after he married and started a family. The one occasion on which Deconet states that he had lived outside Venice (for three to four years in the late 1750s) is somewhat negated by the man himself. And thus more archival research is needed to clarify the question.

Hopefully, someone reading this will add up how many years Deconet resided in Venice, instead of just swallowing the doctrinaire “conclusion” that he was an unrepentant “vagrant.”

Duane Rosengard

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Surely someone on Maestronet could explain how and why the career or surviving output of the great Carlo Tononi “fits” into the Pio Doctrine.

Duane,

You refer to the "Pio Doctrine." I think I've made it quite clear to you that you're setting up straw men. If Professor Pio has a "doctrine," it should be fairly clear to anyone by now it isn't really possible for any random "enterprising" craftsman Joe to make and sell fiddles out of his proverbial "garage" in Venice, as a matter of routine, without being affiliated with a guild member.

As for Tononi, unlike Deconet, when Tononi arrived in Venice from Bologna, at a (minimum) ripe old age of 38, he was already quite skilled in the craft of violin-making.

Tononi wasn't a Marzeri guild member either. But records do exist that he sold through another Venetian shop.

But I suppose I'm once again missing the point of the comparison of Tononi with Deconet.

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Flyboy,

The one issue I have with Professor Pio's reasoning (and yours, I mean this very respectfully) is I feel he jumps to conclusions. (whether he happens to be right or not)

How can you deduct from a few cases of people being punished for operating outside the guild that nobody could get away with it?

By the way, it shows some were at least trying, doesn't it?

So there is not yet documents showing Deconnet was a guild member...Does that categorically mean he wasn't?

There is not yet any records of him selling through another shop, that doesn't mean he didn't.

If we applied the same reasoning to all the baroque violin makers, we wouldn't have very many left.

We know very little of this guys. We still don't know where the Man (strad) learned the craft and many researchers have looked for info for a very long time.

The one thing we have left are instruments bearing their names, it doesn't mean they made them for sure but neither should we disregard any maker we can't find archival records of.

With regards

Antoine

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Dear All:

Just to be absolutely clear (and in grave peril of repeating myself): there is no documentary or physical evidence of any kind, whether in Mr. Pio's books or elsewhere (to my knowledge), that Tononi himself had any connection, personal or otherwise, to any Venetian shopkeeper, maker, guild member (take your pick... fill in the blank).

Tononi died in 1730.

Mr. Pio cites evidence of the sale of a Tononi bow in 1745. Domenico Montagnana's daughter's possessed a "used Tonon" violin in 1751. This is the documentary record.

Unfortunately this is just one of many dozens of instances where the doctrine's author has contrived a supposition or invented a theory and presented it as historical fact.

Gullible followers beware of the Pied Piper and read the fine print! Tononi owners: have no fear, this ruckus, too, shall pass!

Duane Rosengard

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Gentlemen,

I'd like to say for myself that this thread has been a real privilege. Some very knowledgeable people have been sharing a lot of information with all of us, and I'd like to thank them as well as those posters whose obstination has been encouraging them to share more and more.

Speaking for myself, I must acknowledge the limits of my expertise. I am not a professional dealer and I don't have several authentic old italian violins coming through my "shop" every week. As a professional violinist and amateur maker who's had the good luck to have friends among experts, dealers and makers through the years, I've had hundreds of "accepted authentic" instruments in my hands over the last four decades, and I think for a very limited number of makers and schools, I have a high level of expertise and would trust my judgement enough to risk my hard-earned money on a buy.

Deconet isn't one of them. Although I've seen dozens of "accepted authentic" Deconets in photographs, I've only had direct acces to 3, and I didn't have the opportunity to thoroughly study them. I have seen and examined a half dozen "attributed to" Deconets, but that's obviously no help. At my level of experience, when I first read Mr. Pio's book, I was thoroughly convinced by his reasoning, and I have to admit, I do love a good "a-ha" story, when what seems like centuries of more or less inadvertant lies are overturned by scholarship.

The Lorenzo Guadagnini story, "Cremonese" Goffriller cellos, Pascherele/Pressendas, the best Magginni's made by Rogeri, Bergonzi a pupil of V; Ruggieri, these are all revelations that have improved our understanding. In most of these cases, though (I don't know enough about how Goffriller cellos came to be recognized as such), there is a concordance between the "body of work" and the documentary (or scientific) evidence. (classifying L. Guadagnini violins was the subject of a VSA presentation many years ago, dendrochronolgy work on Maggini, archives and early violins for Bergonzi...)

After the postings of Messrs. Reuning and Rosengard, I understand better their insistance that we shouldn't jump to conclusions. Mr. Reuning says he has seen and examined 50 examples with consistant workmanship and labels, and there are other experts out there that share that view. Mr. Rosengard has explained that if we limit ouselves to studying the documentary trail only with no regard to the body of work, we'd have to eliminate many more, if not most violin makers, since there are so many holes in the existing records. I don't know what more can be said on the subject.

On the other hand, we've gotten very far from the initial post which was about the fiddle in Tarisio. I went back and took a long look at the photos, and with my admittedly limited expertise on Deconets, I feel there are really a lot of "Deconet-ish" details, like the scroll, the wood of the back, the corners, the f-hole wings. The two big things that strike me as "un-Deconet" are the outline, especially the shape of the center bouts, and the lack of construction pins in the back, but if this were an early fiddle, maybe made without a mold, who knows?

A couple of questions for Mr. Reuning: do authentic Deconet violins seem to have been made consistently from the same mold, and on a related topic, what do you think about the possibility that the origin of the center back pin is simply the remnants of a bench dog hole?

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Dear All:

Just to be absolutely clear (and in grave peril of repeating myself): there is no documentary or physical evidence of any kind, whether in Mr. Pio's books or elsewhere (to my knowledge), that Tononi himself had any connection, personal or otherwise, to any Venetian shopkeeper, maker, guild member (take your pick... fill in the blank).

Unfortunately this is just one of many dozens of instances where the doctrine's author has contrived a supposition or invented a theory and presented it as historical fact.

Gullible followers beware of the Pied Piper and read the fine print! Tononi owners: have no fear, this ruckus, too, shall pass!

Duane Rosengard

"I believe that it was very difficult to carry on one’s business if

one was not a member of the guild. However neither Tononi nor Gobetti

were members. I suppose that their instruments may have been produced

and sold in Sella’s shop”.

Charles Beare, in the book Les violons, Venetian instruments, Paris 1995, pag.29

Choose you’re piper

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Chaps,

Historical research relies on finding the most logical and informed explanation to tie together a number of facts. However, when we are dealing with a past from which only fragmentary sources survive, the conclusions of even the best-trained historian are only as good as the evidence in front of them. Many historians exercise an element of jurisprudence in their arguments: Does their conclusion satisfy legal reasoning: Will they stand up in court? To take that analogy further, there are many times when a sound conviction has been made on the evidence provided, only for it to become a miscarriage of justice after facts unknown to the prosecution and defence have surfaced years later. In such circumstances there is no liability on the legal profession or the reputations of those involved. The same applies to history, and our continued study of the discipline is built on an expanding knowledge, finding more methodologies as well as more material with which to re-interpret the past with (hopefully) a greater accuracy. On a daily basis, conclusions from highly respected scholars of the past are overturned because we simply have accumulated more knowledge - often as a direct result of those same "gods" of the subject inspiring us to investigate further. As a result however, it is often difficult to separate earnest research from a pissing contest, especially when the 'last generation' is still very much alive.

I think its worth putting for the record that there is a respectability to Stefano Pio's conclusions. Whether or not he overstated his position, or was confused by the disorderly nature of the instruments that support his general thesis. I am extremely grateful that he has brought so much to light, and feel that his efforts will fuel a greater understanding of this subject, notwithstanding that as first-to-publish, it is an inevitable force of nature that numerous of his conclusions must ultimately be open to question as we learn more. I've felt saddened that the nature of this forum with the need to address questions from all directions has at time forced the rhetorical tone into one that sounds more adversarial than collegial.

It is worth exploring the Strad issues of early 2005 when in January John Dilworth wrote an overview of Venice "Queen of the Adriatic" to accompany that year's calendar, Stewart Pollens' reading of Pio's work in the letters page of the March 2005 Strad, and Pio's direct and to the point letter of April 2005 "Experts and international dealers can no longer ignore that documents stored here in Venice prove that Deconet was not a violin maker". You will find that this debate has not fundamentally changed in almost a decade. The difference is that with these questions posed, it has been up to the 'international dealers" to question their position, and I know that many have approached this with an open mind. We simply come to this proposition in 2012 with greater knowledge. We find a coherent body of work associated with the labels we take to be authentic, and we find so many exceptions to our understanding of guild-rules, such that we know we can no longer be proscriptive about the nature of a violin maker in 18th-century Venice.

On a side-note to Jacob Saunders, the outstanding words of Beare's 1995 conclusions in Les Violons, are "I believe","I suppose" and "may". You are likening comments that are self-evidently educated guesses to the very definitive and unambiguous statements made about Deconet in the Strad in 2005. Copied below is his letter of April that year. I regret to bring this up, but likening educated guesswork to statement of fact is obfuscation. I fear that those (of whom there are numerous) who have clouded the issue have done more harm to Pio's reputation and to inflict personal hurt than those who have simply disagreed with his conjecture.

Strad Magazine, April, 2005:

Michele Deconet: Maker or Musician?

In a document that I found in the Archivio Patriarcale in Venice, Michele Deconet states that he resided outside Venice during the years 1757-60.

Consequently the 'Deconet Violin, 1759' illustrated in the Strad calendar (right) was not made by him. Experts and international dealers can no longer ignore that all the documents stored here in Venice prove Deconet was not a violin maker.

For his entire life Deconet was a violinist not an abusive seller or a clandestine worker in the violin shops of his time.

STEFANO PIO, VENICE RESEARCH

Venice, Italy

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...notwithstanding that as first-to-publish, it is an inevitable force of nature that numerous of his conclusions must ultimately be open to question as we learn more. I've felt saddened that the nature of this forum with the need to address questions from all directions has at time forced the rhetorical tone into one that sounds more adversarial than collegial. ( Hebbert comment)

-Thank you, I agree with you. As you see in Strad magazine I had 3 lines to replay to an article of several pages of Mr. Dilworth on Venetians if I well remember. It was difficult for me, an Italian, to summarize in a few line the full content of my research. But I agree with you, I could have been less categorical in my statement. Dilworth is an excellent expert and scholar. But (I was asking to myself at the time) why to write an article on Venetians ignoring completely my work and all the documents discovered and published in my book just a few years before? Was this choice more proper than my categorical language? Were all these documents I discovered irrelevant for a complete discussion on Venetians ? I think not.

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I have been again invited through personal e mails to participate to this forum to clarify my position after recent issues appeared on Deconet. I wish to start saying that of course market is something different than research, so I understand the position of dealers that, on the basis of previous valuable expertise tradition, furthermore considering instruments having common characteristic, sell instruments under the traditional Deconet attribution. After all instruments quality does not change. This way to proceed is/has been shared also in other fields of arts and can’t be totally condemned if we look at the necessities of the market and its operation. (By the way are we all sure that the wonderful viola submitted by Mr. Holmes in the forum is not a P. Guarneri ?)

I am enough humble to see the limits of my work and really I am looking forward for future publications that surely will enrich me also, may be inducing me to change my ideas on some questions. This said I wish to replay to some related questions:

1) Mr. Pio does not furnish any archival evidence dating from Francesco Gobetti’s lifetime (1675-1723) that confirms that he was a “legal lauter”, though a few Venetian documents refer to Gobetti posthumously by the profession “calegher” (shoemaker, or a maker of footwear). It is not certain when or where Gobetti had a shop. Gobetti’s name has not been found in existing documents of either the Guild of Calegher or the Mercer’s. (Rosengard comment)

- Yes, we can speculate that the violins of the calegher in Montagnana inventory or Ospedale La Pietà records is something related not to Gobetti. But I think improbable there were in first half 18th century two caleghers making violins also in Venice.

- We can’ t find Gobetti name in the Guild of Calegheri because he was not a shop owner. There are anyway contemporary (to Gobetti) documents proving he was a calegher.

- Francesco Gobetti was well acquainted with the liuter Paolo Recaldini. (NB: Paolo was probably the son of Zuane Recaldini, maker of violoni and violins died in 1697, two his violoni are stored at MIM Bruxelles). As the older man of his family in Venice, Francesco Gobetti managed the marriage of his sisters. From my book “Violin and Lute Makers of Venice 1640 -1760”:

In 1706 and 1707, Francesco’s (Gobetti) sisters Antonia (b. 1685) and Sabba (b.1683) married in San Moisè. The witness for both was Paolo Recaldini, lauter, who later became a harpsichord maker, made this statement about their celibacy: “I have known Sabba since she was a child . . . . she arrived in Venice (1692) at the age of nine.” Paolo Recaldini was therefore acquainted with the Gobetti family from the time of his arrival in Venice. It is possible that Francesco learned the basic skills of making violins from Paolo. Francesco Gobetti also may have acquired Zuanne’s violin making tools after Paolo married Caterina Griffo,(NB. His father Griffo was a famous harpsichord maker) after which he began to build harpsichords.

We have not found any documents that would link Gobetti as an apprentice in any of the leading botteghe, particularly the bottega of Matteo Goffriller. Gobetti arrived in Venice (1700) at the age of 25, a man already, and had to provide for himself, and shortly thereafter, for his family. It is not readily conceivable that he could have alternated work duties with learning violin making skills from Goffriller. Moreover, Goffriller was very busy during those years and most certainly would not have been interested in teaching his profession to those who could become potential competitors and from whom he could not have gained any financial advantage”.

What I wrote on Gobetti can be extended also to a supposed Deconet violin making activity. But the conclusions that I logically reached for the second one are exactly opposite: Deconet was not acquainted /had nobody with the interest to teach him violin making.

- Gobetti instruments are dated ca. 1705 -1717. Considering that Montagnana opened his bottega in 1712, it is very improbable he was associated with Gobetti. As a new shop owner, the fiscal registration pertaining to the years 1713 to 1716, showed that Montagnana’s initial activity was very minimal and made alone.

It is more probably that Gobetti was selling his instruments via Sellas (look point 4 also). By the way, the arrival of Guarneri and Tononi in Venice 1717 is concomitant with the Gobetti illness that, with any probability, signed the end of his work as liuter. Evidentely Sellas had the necessity to have somebody skilled in the art of violin making to compete with Goffriller after the quitting of Gobetti.

2) The leading “lauter” within the Mercer’s Guild in early 18th century Venice, both in terms of personal wealth and taxes paid, was Mattio Sellas (1678-1731) who had inherited a significant fortune including one or two workshops. He married extremely well and operated like a true capo di famiglia. But did he get his hands dirty at the workbench? Not as far as I can tell. He managed his firm’s accounts with institutions, employed craftsmen like Andrea Comel (circa 1715) and may have recruited Pietro Guarneri. I cannot point to evidence that even hints at the possibility Sellas knew how to build an instrument, sold such an instrument bearing his name, or could teach or direct someone else to build such an instrument for him. (Rosengard comment)

- Matteo Sellas belonged to the liuter family of Sellas in Venice, present in Venice as lauteri from XVI century (Martin Sellas). It is enough to read the several technical bills of Ospedale della Pietà written by him to reach the conclusion he was a liuter also. Not only a dealer.

- The members of the guild “must have a stable shop with a public sign-board, and must personally work in the shop or have an Agent employee there.” Arti, b.395

- I am sure Pietro Guarneri was working in Sellas shop: because of his close relationship with Pietro Guarneri, Matteo Sellas became (1728) the godfather of Pietro’s eldest son, Giuseppe Simone, who was named in honour of his grandparents. Venetian tradition called for the godfather to be a close friend of the family, someone who was held in great esteem and to whom a family was grateful. The child being baptized would acquire the status of fiosso for the godfather, a Venetian term of the time that meant ‘almost a son.’

- The Sellas family enjoyed a very important and dominant position in the musical instrument market of Venice, and Matteo (II) Sellas, who owned the bottega since 1698, needed skilled and expert workers who could help him compete with Goffriller and later with Montagnana. If Matteo Sellas was not competitive, he could have lost his large share of the stringed instrument market that had been steadily growing since the beginning of the eighteenth century. In 1728, Paolo Minotto, a Venetian nobleman who was an amateur musician, stated the following about Pietro Guarneri and his future wife Angela Ferrari: “I have known them for ten years (1718), as the groom (Guarneri) works in Calle dei Stagneri and the girl lives in the neighborhood.”

The only bottega owner, who could have had the capability and the interest in hiring expert workers like Guarneri, was Matteo Sellas whose records of having paid high taxes indicated a high-volume and profitable business. The private gondolier of this nobleman spoke also of the presence of Pietro Guarneri in a bottega in the Calle dei Stagneri: “I have known them for ten years, as I am the servant of the nobleman Paolo Minotto who practiced his skill in the bottega of the young man (Guarneri) and near the house of the bride.”

- Pietro Guarneri is mentioned in several documents as Iseppo because writers often did the mistake to take the name of the father for the name of direct interested in the document: so Pietro Guarneri q. Iseppo began Guarneri Iseppo! The document stating he payed registration fee in 1733 when working at home is further evidence he was previously working in somebody else shop in Calle dei Stagneri.

3)The workshop of another Guild member, Anzolo Sopran, was inventoried shortly after his death in 1734. The inventory’s author was an expert from every standpoint: Domenico Montagnana, who catalogued new and old “German” violins, plucked instruments, bows, guitar pieces, tools of various types and lots of strings from Rome and Perugia. Nothing is positively identified as Sopran’s own finished work. Montagnana prepared this document for the Venetian magistrate charged with the tutleage of Sopran’s minor age children, who in this instance had legal rights juxtaposed to those of Sopran’s second wife; the document was not used for purposes of taxation.

At Sopran’s first marriage in 1715 he was described by the officiating priest as a “lauter.” As a witness to the ceremony, Mattio Sellas was termed a “mercante” or merchant, a higher social grade than the “lauter” applied to Sellas himself by the Mercer’s (Merchant’s) Guild. (Rosengard comment)

- Sopran/Montagnana inventory was discovered by Toffolo and published in his book.

- Matteo Sellas was a merchant. Even Sopran was a merchant (of German violins), where is the difference? Only in the business volume.

-Absence of personal made instruments in Sopran shop at his death does not prove he never did instruments. Looking at taxes records, Sopran had instead a good business.

4) Mr. Pio (in his discourse on both Tononi and Pietro Guarneri, oddly enough) states matter of factly that Tononi worked for Matteo Sellas - another of the undocumented and tenuous “facts” that pepper Pio’s work. Tononi himself would have certainly taken deep offense to Mr. Pio’s definition of him as “one of the principal Venetian luthiers”; such sweeping generalities are not just wrong but lead the author to myriad dubious conclusions. (Rosengard comment)

- Absence of any record in Guild books to him related, led me to the conclusion that Tononi (Gobbetti also) was selling his instruments through somebody, it means through a registered shop owner.

Rolo” year 1727 :

Domenico Montagnana in detto loco ( calle de Stagneri ) paga 22

Mattio Seles in Cale Stagneri 46:

Zuane Curci e suoi heredi 24:

Anzolo Sopran in d. loco 24:

Marzeri con botteghe piccole:

Anzolo Sopran 22:

Mattio Friller S. Apostoli 22:

Nicolò Taiber era su la riva Schiavoni 12:

I don’t think that the lute makers of the upper liuteri list (Rolo 1727) allowed Tononi to have an his workshop and selling directly his instruments for 13 years without being registered to the Guild and paying taxes unlike themselves. Furthermore why there is a massive number of records related to these makers on those years and no one for Tononi ? The logical conclusion I take is that Tononi was not a shop owner.

As you can see in the Rolo, tax payment was different for each liuter and was calculated according to the number of workers present in the workshop. Sellas had several workers.

- Tononi, as Gobetti and Guarneri could label their instruments even if working under Sellas. I am glad to see that Mr. Beare was also sharing my point of view on Tononi and Gobetti selling instruments vis Sellas.

- For Guarneri look at point 2. I wish to add, as pertinent example valid also for Deconet case, that Pietro Guarneri, after having quitted Sellas and before opening his own shop in Salizzada San Lio passed some months working at his home (in casa). Nevertheless he was obliged to pay taxes and to be registered to the Guild:

11 Ottobre 1733: “Comparve d. Pietro Guarnier fa il lautir in casa e finì istanza di aver pagato da qui a mese uno à pagato con Benintrada (Guild tax registration)”.Venice State Archive, Arti b. 321

5)I would hesitate to affirm categorically that Busan was an “employee” of his friend Zuane Ongaro (Matteo Goffriller’s son-in-law). (Rosengard comment).

-Zuane Ongaro had a son Ignazio that was a liuter too: I have come upon Ignazio Ongaro’s request to certify his freedom to marry. I have known and have been acquainted with him since his birth because I work in his house.” Declaration signed by Domenico Busan

6) Until he can furnish evidence connecting Deconet to a “legitimate” craftsman this is a far more rationale approach that mystifying the subject with notions of Deconet selling works of dead men. (Rosengard comment)

-I think in my books it is clear what is archival data and what is my personal conclusion. Every researcher take his conclusions on his investigation. Concerning the presence of Deconet labelled instruments, yes, I tried to explain with a my personal hypothesis the existence of labels bearing his name in absence of any archival data proving he was a maker. This does not eliminate the value of the data I have published on Deconet.

Research is never immune by mistaken. Surely I have made mistakes and I am always glad to recognize them. It is like a puzzle, there can be several interpretation of facts and everybody is free to display his result without offence or being offended.

7)There has been a constant undertone throughout this thread that connoisseurship by previous generations has led to many wrong attributions to Deconet (Greither & Toffolo for example) (Hebbert comment)

- Toffolo never made attributions to Deconet. I suggest to read what Toffolo was writing. By the way, the negative comments on Toffolo book pose to me the question why Mr. Beare in Grove dictionary was instead continuously mentioning it.

8)I don’t believe Mr. Pio’s propensity for arguing from theories to the facts helps anyone. It is extremely unfair for Mr. Pio to mix theories, speculation and fact in a manner that the reader cannot distinguish. Through self-referencing and repetition, he has tried to elevate this entirely subjective method into a doctrine. (Rosengard comment)

- In my books it is very clear what is documental and what is the speculation I have made on the fact. Many people confirmed me this. Every researcher takes his conclusions based on the documents he studied.

I have passed 14 years of my time investigating personally into the Venice archives. I underline “personally” because there are two manners of doing research: by yourself, making your hands dirty of dust or instead delegating someone. I no agree for a research made in this second way: when someone is passing personally lot of time searching for data it happens also he come in contact with and read other related and not related questions that help to create a correct historical background and consequently help to better understand and collocate after that the documents you are looking for. Just an example I passed a lot of time reading several of the thousand actions made by Guilds toward defaulters and offenders of rules! There were also proceedings against people that attempted to sell a basket of fishes in market without Guild registration and permit. So in this way I formed a clear idea that controls were strict. Very much. (I think that a proper number for these action is between 200.000 and 500.000 !)

Of course this does not means that people did not try to avoid controls ( sometime I think successfully also). But it was quite impossible for a lauter working at home to avoid these controls for all his life. This is the conclusion I reached personally frequenting the Venetian archives, not for weeks, for years. Archive documents are not so fragmentary as I see someone is thinking in this forum.

I conclude saying that my English will be weak but the original documents are written in Italian.

9)How were Guild laws interpreted, respected or enforced? Was the situation confronted by instrument makers the same in the Renaissance as it was in 1720? What defines “Guild Membership” in 18th century Venice beyond the obvious fact that members paid taxes to the Mercer’s Guild (Arte de Marzeri)? I don’t believe that any of these questions have uniform or absolute answers over the three hundred years during which Venetian guild records were created.

(Rosengard comment).

- Yes, but for controls, registration, Capitoli, taxes and an infinity of other topics it was always the same. I can see the same control procedure in Marzeri guild in XVI, XVII and XVIII century.

Guild has to guarantee over the time the same duty and rights for each member, that is why control never ceased.

Into Venice state archive there are actually some scholars that has spent their full life studying and researching on Venetian guilds: they are the more competent people in the world to say something on the argument. Among them I remember Dott.sa Michela dal Borgo and Dott.sa Tiepolo. I prefer to believe to them.

- “The guilds were heavily taxed because of the war with the Turks. I think that if Goffriller, who at that time had a very heavy workload, was reluctant to stick his own label on his instruments, it was in order to avoid paying too much taxes.”

Charles Beare, book Les violons, Venetian instruments Paris 1995, pag.29

I have a question: if the controls of Guilds were lax (as somebody is continuing to state in Maestronet) why Goffriller should have taken this ploy to avoid taxes payments ?

10) One critical question is overlooked by Mr. Pio: In the period when the greatest violins and cellos were produced in Venice, was a candidate of the “lauter” subclass within the Venetian Mercer’s Guild required to demonstrate the abililty to personally craft a product like a lute, a violin, guitar, etc.? The answer is clearly “No.” This may be the single greatest difference between the local Venetian tradition and the norms of certain guilds in other parts of Europe. (Rosengard comment)

- In Venice there was no ability exam for liuteri (like in Spain or Portugal for the violeros during Renaissance) because the Guild was thinking enough the apprenticeship path. These apprentices gained their professional experience within the bottega, eventually climbing each rank of the shop’s hierarchy (garzone, giovane, maestro, and finally owner of the shop) and in so doing, they themselves evolved into the custodians of their acquired knowledge. This knowledge, as related to craft in the botteghe, was transmitted also from father to son or from maestro to apprentice in an unbroken chain, according to a tradition that had already been established from the Middle Ages, as confirmed by an archive recording of 1323 referring of a Luter of luter (a luthier son of another luthier).

Excellence of this system is also proved by the fact that many of the young boys of Allgäu area were send often to Venice to spend the apprentice period before coming back home and opening a liuter workshop.

I don’t see how this difference can have consequence in instrument production or can be pertinent to a discussion on Deconet. Surely he was out of this system.

11) Without belaboring the message, Santo renounced the profession of merchant, but he did not promise to quit making violins and throw his tools in the Grand Canal! Santo went on to live for another 31 years (Rosengard comment)

- That is what I wrote in my book! I suggest interested to read more carefully the chapter on Santo Serafin I wrote (in Italian if you prefer).

By the way I don’t have problems in saying that I think Santo Serafin was probably apprenticed by Francesco Goffriller in Udine before his coming in Venice as Busan was by Dalla Costa in Treviso. There is a record how Serafin acquired a marzer position in Venice

-I don’t think Deconet was apprenticed before when soldier in Paris or after his arrival in Venice when adult. He had to work as vagrant player to eat everyday. It is interesting to note that an apprentice was working without salary (just food and lodging and if I well remember sometime 3 soldi pour day). Why somebody had to take and to teach someone the art of violin making without having back all the benefit originated from the apprentice/master relationship?

-But the question can be posed also in a different way: people that wanted to open a workshop in Venice had to be well trained in the art. It was impossible for a dilettante to open an activity and compete with liuteri having an excellent long tradition in a market characterized by high quality standard like the Venetian one. This is valid for Busan, Serafin and Deconet also.

12) The overall outline of Pietro Guarneri II’s biography was researched by prof. Giovanni Livi in the 1920s and published by the Hill brothers in the final chapter of their famous work on the Guarneri family. Such fundamental background goes unmentioned in Mr. Pio’s second book (Rosengard comment)

- Go to pag. 383 of my book and you will find my credit to Guarneri book.

I have to say that people is not giving the same attention toward me when using data I have discovered and published .

But there is a substantial difference among the Hills book (or book “Les Violons Venetian” ) and my books: source of every document I have found is always reported.

This allows people (including Mr. Rosengard) to go and check the documents I have fond and to reach their own conclusion on them. Wish this procedure have been adopted previously, history of violin making would be now different.

13) “Thank you Sig. Pio, you just answered the precise question I asked you. Yes, I agree that there were numerous makers in Venice other than Deconet who were not part of the guild. This is one of the main contradictions that I point out in your chapter about Deconet. Of course Deconet, like a number of other Venetian makers, was free to make and label his violins even though he was not a member of the guild. (Reuning comment)”.

Prego Mr. Reuning, yes, in Venice XVIII century there were SOME makers not registered to the Guild, but we have documental evidence they were violin makers and we know the reason for why they were not registerd as makers. For Deconet we have instead evidence only he was a vagrant violin player.

I think that nobody indeed can consider a label glued into an instrument a conclusive and indisputable document. “A document is an official piece of paper that contains recorded information”. A label not.

If a different evidence will appear in future then I will be glad to review my statement on Deconet, I will have no problem in doing so because it will remain unchanged the value of my work for an infinite number of other issues .

I have to say one question that can seems obvious. Venice was not Cremona and Venice State Archive is not Cremona archive. It is a severe mistake to compare the two cities/archives.

Differently from Cremona, where it has been very difficult to find documents pertaining Guarneri and Stradivari family, Venice Archive is prolific and infinite (the largest in Europe if I well remember), there are millions of documents stored in 45km (linear calculation) libraries (4 meters high) and, as I experienced personally, it is quite improbable that people working in the city as liuter in the past centuries did not let any trace of their activity even if minimal. Guild records are massive, I can’t define them fragmentary.

Consequently if in Cremona or other places we can safely accept the existence of makers without any documental evidence, I would be no so sure that the same approach and parameter can be used for Venice, stating the thousands of records existing on Venetian lute and violin makers 1500 -1800. Of course we can have a different view on the question but I think at least everybody can accept the idea that having documental evidence is better than not.

14) “As I already told, there are quite 25/30 violin makers contemporary of Deconet whose work is totally unknown: how to explain the absence of labels related to them while we a have a proliferation of Deconet labelled instruments (made also in the period in which probably he was outside of Venice) is a mystery that Reuning should explain to me. If a label is a proof of the existence of a maker, then what do to with all the makers of which we have no labels proving their activity?”(Pio comment)

“This is a very good question that has no easy answer, but the leap of logic to suggest this as a reason to conclude that Deconet (or any other maker who labeled a violin) as not being responsible for his work is too convoluted for me to understand.” (Reuning comment).

- It is not convolute to understand: we must accept the possibility that instruments made by 25/30 Venetian makers (whose we have not label evidence but only documental) are passing now under other names (Deconet included) thus proving again the limit of an expertise built only on the absolute validity of labels.

Everybody can make an infinite list of not existing makers claimed to be so only on the base of labels bearing their name. It is dangerous to give attributions not supported by any documentary evidence in an environment in which we have instead abundance of data related to an infinity of other violin makers.

Deconet case, as for my concerning, is not an isolated case, I cite also the supposed makers Caspan and Siciliano.

A bunch of instruments (unfortunately till now not displayed in a convincing way) having common characteristic is not enough, according to my personal opinion, to justify the existence of Deconet as violin maker in presence of documents leading to a different conclusion. This bunch could be attributed to an other maker also of pair value and quality. To be more precise, I have to say that, always according to my opinion, there is not a bunch, there are “several bunches”: one having similarities with Giorgio Serafin work, a second having similarities with Pietro Guarneri, a third close to the instruments that were the fruit of a mixed work of Guarneri + Tononi when they were working together in Sellas shop, an other bunch referring to Montagnana, finally a plethora of other instruments that can be attributed to other major, less known or unknown Venetian makers. This is unfortunately, for me, the actual status quo on “Deconet” instruments.

On evaluation of data on Deconet I have to say that I am in good company as Mr. EMW Paul reached and shared my same conclusions when he was doing research here in Venice archives. (See letter of Mr. Youngman, 1972 displayed in this forum by Mr. Saunders).

Further evidence to my statement is given by the fact that some instruments bearing labels possibly considered original are referred to years in which Deconet was probably outside of Venice. Existence of so many different labels (handwritten, stamped, etc) is also very suspect. Paper experts (we have here in Venice a wonderful restoration centre at State Archive ) told me that to state the absolute originality of one label is very difficult if not quite impossible even if using a number of analysis (made mainly on the ink).

On the absolute value of labels I have already mentioned as example the case of Gregorio Antoniazzi (see my tread # 115 point 1) ) . I want to add one more example: in the book “Les violons: Venetian instruments, paintings & drawings, Paris 1995 are published 2 Bellosio violins labelled 1754 and 1756. According their labels these 2 instruments were made when Bellosio was respectively a boy 11 and 13 years old. I am not saying these violins are not original, I am speaking of their label.

15) “I do not believe it is necessary for a maker to serve a formal apprenticeship in order to be a violin maker. I believe he (Deconet) began as an amateur (as indicated by his first efforts) (Reuning comment).”

- This position is different from Mr. Beare position when he was writing in Grove dictionary : he (Deconet) was probably a pupil of Pietro Guarneri.

I think instead that the work passing currently under the name of Deconet is not in any case the fruit of an amateur. The same is for Gobetti. Their work can not be considered amateurish.

- On the formal apprenticeship inside or outside of Venice (Busan, Serafin) I quote my book Liuteri e Sonadori pag 13: “…the membership fee was calculated as follows: seven ducats for ‘notified’ Venetian subjects, or garzone and giovani who did their apprenticeship in a Venetian shop, eight ducats for ‘non notified’ Venetian subjects, that is those who did their apprenticeship outside of Venice, nine ducats for ‘notified’ dry land subjects, ten ducats for ‘non-notified’ dry land subjects. There were also two other main types of taxes: the Luminaria, whose funds were devoted to the maintenance of the Arte and its ceremonies, and the Tansa e Taglione, taxes ‘ad personam’ paid to the Venetian government by the shop owner and calculated on the basis of the number of employees.

16) “outside of Pio's imagined police state (Reuning comment)”

Controls were not weak in Venice. It is not my imagination, it is evidence of documents stored here in Venice. I must edit my self. In Guild books there are not several, there are HUNDREDS of records that are proof of the strict control made by the Guild towards his members.

Just to give an example, every 3 months one member of the Guild was appointed as Tansador (tax collector). He had to go in all shops asking fees payments. Few paid immediately, the majority paid after several warnings or when called by the Guild officers.

Usually the form of these records is: “Come into the Guild office Mr X asking please to reduce his tax/fine/luminaria (or whatsoever was) because he is poor, he does not have money to eat, for medicine, for this, for that”. Among those I was particularly touched by Pietro Guarneri situation that was desperate. He reduced himself as a beggar, asking continuously to the Guild to cut/ delay the expiry of his obligations.

It was realty, not strategy, when Pietro Guarneri died, he was buried without having a mass because his wife did not have money to pay the priest!

I don’t think that in this economical situation Guarneri had the possibility to take someone as apprentice/worker in his workshop (Deconet included).

17) The one issue I have with Professor Pio's reasoning (and yours, I mean this very respectfully) is I feel he jumps to conclusions (Nedelec comment)

- No, I did not jump only to conclusions, simply I did not wait 40 years to publish them.

Thank you and Buon Natale

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For who is interested I give here the list of documents on which I worked 12 years ago (and calculations made on these date) on Deconet and his family . Unfortunately is only in Italian.

1712/3 nascita di Michele Deconet

1726 ca. lascia la casa natale

1726 ca. - 1729 ca. si arruola come soldato e risiede a Parigi per due anni

1730 ca. viaggio ed arrivo a Venezia

1743, 10 Gennaio : Stato di libertà di Michael de Conet, da Kel (Aquitania) di 30 anni, figlio del q. Pietro.

Ch’ esso Michiel de Connet, in età d’anni 14 circa, partiva dalla sua patria e si fè soldato, portandosi in Parigi dove ha dimorato circa due anni, e dopo si portò in Venezia dove ha dimorato sino al presente, non però di continuo, essendo di quando in quando andato in varie città della terra ferma per causa della sua professione di suonatore, dai quali luoghi (.. ) come anco da detta sua patria partì libero come da suo giuramento e testimonianza.

e

Anna Chiaparota q. GioBatta, del luogo di Besson, diocesi di Muriana nella Savoia. D’età di anni 40, relitta del q. Gio. Antonio Codrè quale morì lì 29 Ottobre 1740 come da fede ha dimorato in Venezia sino al presente, ora abitanti ambidui nella Parrocchia di S. Giov. In Bragora e sono liberi e sciolti da ogni altra obbligazione e promessa di matrimonio.

Testi:

- Pietro Ligi q. Pietro, Parigino, anni 50, a Venezia da 30 anni, abitante a San Moisè, sonador di Aboè: sono venuto ad istanza di Michiel Conet e di Anna Codre. Quegli non hanno impedimento alcuno per maritarsi assieme e lo so per pratica di tutti e due. Li conosco tutti e due da 12/13 anni in qua la donna…. E come amico del primo suo marito e detto Michiel colla occasione della professione di sonador, essendo stati sempre camerati assieme andando per la terra ferma , cioè Brescia, Bergam, Crema, Mantova.

Il suddetto Michiel non è mai stato maritato; la donna era moglie del q. Gio. Antonio Codri che morì già due anni e mezzo indietro, e dopo la sua vedovanza dimorò in Venezia e si mantenne libera.

- Pietro Ferrari q. Antonio di ?ndena, Bergamasco di anni 66 a Venezia dalla puerizia: li conosco tutti e due da circa 14 anni in qua. La donna perché negoziavo di biade col primo suo marito e detto Michiel … che praticava le Piazze, sonando il violino e l’ho anco veduto di passaggio in Mestre, Padova, Treviso

Io Michel Deconet affermo con giuramento che son de libertà.

Archivio Patriarcale , Examina matrimoniorum b. 221 c.13

1743, 30 Gennaio: matrimonio tra Anna Chiaparota, figlia di Gio Batta da Besson, relita in primo voto di Zuane Antonio Codrè e Michiel de Conet. Presente GioBatta Sdovati?q. Domenico abita a S. Anzolo ed il chierico di chiesa.

Ap. Bragora , matrimoni, c. in data

1743, 10 Novembre: morte della Chiaparota, di anni 41 febbre ed ictu apoplettico orbata di voce.

Ap. Bragora , morti, c. in data

1744, 26 Giugno. Stato di libertà di Michel Deconee q. Pietro di anni 32

Ch’esso Michiel di Conet, olim marito della q. Anna Chiaparoto quale morì li 10 Nov.1743 come da fede dal tempo di detta sua vedovanza e Paola q. Michiel Stecherle, da Vicenza, di età d’anni 20 c° dal mese di Aprile pross.° pass.° nel qual tempo partì dalla patria libera come…. Attestano che hanno rispettivamente dimorato in Venezia: sia al presente; ora abitanti l’uno nella Parrocchia di S. Giov. in Bragora e l’altra nella Parr. di S. Marcola e sono liberi e sciolti da ogni altro obbligo e promessa di matrimonio.

Testi:

-Filippo Giusti, becher, 54 anni: sono venuto ad istanza di Paola Stecherle…la conosco da circa 2 anni che stà in casa mia eccettuati pochi giorni che andò a Vicenza a prendere gli attestati della sua libertà. Praticandola giornalmente con familiarità e confidenza , so che non è maritata ne ha altri impegni in questa città e se fosse lo saprei.

-Alvise Tonella, becher, 46

Sono venuto ad istanza di Paola Stecherle – La conosco da alcuni anni, che cucina la … in Canaregio e da due anni in qua abita a S. Marcuola vicino a casa mia: è già due mesi fa si portò a Vicenza per avere le sue fedi di libertà.

-Antonio Mioli, vicentino, 34 anni, sarto alla Bragora. Son qui venuto ad istanza di Michiel Conet per esaminarmi sopra il presente suo stato libero. Lo conosco da 4/5 anni perché abita in S. Giovanni in Bragora dove da 7/8 mesi in qua ha dimorato continuamente. Avendolo dalla sua vedovanza praticato familiarmente, so che non ha contratto altrove obbligazioni o promesse di matrimonio.

-Gaetano Pavanello q. Alfieri di Vicenza, 29 anni, alla Bragora

Lo conosco da che sono in Venezia, abitando in sua medesima contrada e dal novembre passato non è mai partito da questa città. Sono pochi mesi che è vedovo e dalla sua vedovanza in qua si mantenne libero da impegni di matrimonio. Come vicino ed amico di esso Michiel, so la cosa sopra deposta.

Archivio Patriarcale, Examina matrimoniorum b. 224 c.293

1744, 6 Luglio: II° matrimonio di Michele Deconet. Fu convenuto matrimonio in chiesa di San Giov. alla Bragora (filza 29 Giugno) tra Paola e Michiel de Conet del Cassello de Kez nell’Alsazia inferiore di quà dal Reno, diocesi dell’Argentina fu marito della q. Anna Chiaparota di contrà S. Giov. in Bragora.

Testimoni: Giuseppe Antonio q. Gaetano Salbergo detto Meolo, della Bragora ed il chierico.

Ap. San Marcuola , matrimoni c. in data.

1745 ca. Sopra le Scale alla Scozzera. Michiel Soranzo suona in piazza con figli 4 povero. Per casa paga 12 . Vicini alla Calle del Dose, Crosera.

ASV Provveditori alle Pompe b. 16 , S. Giovanni alla Bragora.

1745- Corte Spinella (vicino Ponte dei Dai) . Casa con 5 appartamenti. Nel quinto vivevano Pietro Techela Genovese, giovine di merza? in cambiasio paga 20, Nicolò Losta caligher sotto le Procuratorie vecchie con moglie e figlie e garzon 20. Nel detto appartamento Zuane Marsili con moglie e 2 Ce scritural subloca a Michiel Deconetti canta canzon in Piazza per D. 14.

ASV Provveditori alle Pompe b.16 S. Giminiano

1745, 9 Febbraio: battesimo di Matilda Giacomina figlia di D. Michiel Deconè q. Pietro e di D. Paola q. Michiel Sterca, iugali nata li 6 e furono padrini Girolamo Triffoni di S. Moisè e Bortola Aodeni? Di S. Mosè. Morirà il 10 Febbraio 1812

AP San Giminiano, libri battesimi, c. in data

1747, 3 Aprile: battesimo di Giovanna Antonia figlia di Michiel Deconè q. Pietro e di Paola Sterchi q. Michiel. Iugali nata lì 31 del passato e furono padrini D. Antonio Armano di Santo della contrada di SM Zobenigo e Francesca Chio? Di contrà S. Antonin.

AP San Giminiano, libri battesimi, c. in data

1749, 11 Aprile: nascita di Antonio Pietro figlio di Michiel Deconetti e Paola Stecherle. Padrino Antonio Corona e Margherita Festi ( il marito Zuane Festi era un ciarlatano).

AP Bragora, reg. nascite, c. in data

1751 nascita di Giuseppe, probabilmente fuori Venezia

1755, 6 Giugno: battesimo di Teresa Maria Angela figlia di Michele Deconet, nata il 3 Giugno. Padrino GioBatta Vianello di Mestre, Madrina Angela Morelli stà in contrà.

AP Bragora, reg. nascite, c. in data

1756, 4 Aprile: battesimo di Francesco Paolo di Michiel Deconet, nato il 2 Giugno. Comadre allevatrice Giacomina Spadette. Compadre Giobatta Polla marangon.

AP Bragora, reg. nascite, c. in data

1757, 12 Giugno: battesimo di Zuanne Batta di Michiel Deconet, nato il 9 Giugno. Padrino Giobatta Antoniazzi linarol e Giacomina Spadette. AP Bragora, reg. nascite, c. in data

1762, 3 Gennaio: battesimo di Giobatta Andrea figlio di Michiel Deconet nato ieri. Padrino Andrea Comin alla Zuecca e Giacomina Spadette. AP Bragora, reg. nascite, c. in data

1764, 3 Febbraio, stato di libertà di Matilda Giacomina di Michiel Deconet, 19 anni e Francesco Ambrosio nobile del q. Thomè Vecelli anni 20

Testi:

-Elisabetta moglie e vedova di Thome Vecelli

-Gaspare Soranzo, 26 anni, suonator. Li conosco tutti e due da ragazzi perché hanno sempre abitato nelle mie vicinanze e li ho praticati al presente.

Michiel Deconet, anni 52, suonator di violino, degens Venetiis 24 ab hinc anni. Detta mia figlia l’ho sempre custodita ed allevata in casa mia sino al presente ne mai è partita da Venezia

Archivio Patriarcale Examina matrimoniorum b. 263 c.329

1764, 1 Marzo: matrimonio di Matilda Deconet e Francesco Vecelli. Testimone Giacinto Bernardi camerier .

Mandato di libertà e dispensa di stride N.122

AP Bragora, reg. matrimoni c. in data

1768, 7 Maggio: matrimonio di Antonio figlio di Michele Deconet abita nelle scale dei Celsi e Caterina Dionori che sta in calle del Cagnoletto

AP Bragora, reg. matrimoni c. in data

1771, 14 Febbraio: stato di libertà di Teresa Maria Angela Deconet di anni 18 non compiuti e Gasparo Soranzo, 32 anni, olim marito di Orsola Croce morta il 3 Aprile 1770 a Genova.

Dalla morte di detta sua moglie sino al mese di Novembre dell’anno passato girò continuamente le fiere dello Stato Veneto, nel qual tempo si portò a Venezia libero come da testimonio e suo giuramento.

Testi:

-Gioacchino Veronesi, 51 anni, astrologo. Da che nacque detto Gasparo lo conobbi per occasione dell’amicizia che avevo col padre suo e sino da putello girò sempre il mondo in mia compagnia facendo l’astrologo ed ultimamente erimo insieme in Genova nell’Aprile dell’anno passato allorchè s’ammalò la moglie sua la quale aveva nome Orsetta ed alla fine di detto mese finì di vivere. Dopo la morte di detta sua moglie ci siamo portati alle fiere di Alessandria, della Paglia?, Milano, Bergamo, Brescia, Verona, Vicenza e Padova e per il mese di Novembre siamo giunti in Venezia da dove mai si allontanò.

-Michele de Conetti, anni 59, Veneto da 40 anni, Parrocchia alla Bragora, suona il violino.

Sono venuto per attestare lo stato libero maritale di mia figlia Teresa per maritarsi con Gaspare Soranzo. Detta mia figlia da che nacque eccettuato dall’anno quarto (1759) di sua età fino all’anno settimo (1761) che fu da me condotta lontana da questa città, dimorò in Venezia e nella mia propria abitazione.

-Jobatta Lucatello, strazzariol alla Bragora, 69 anni. Saranno dieci anni che detta Teresa unitamente al padre abita nella propria mia casa da dove mai si allontanò.

Archivio Patriarcale, Examina matrimoniorum b. 277 c.150

1771, 17 Febbraio. Matrimonio di Teresa Deconet (figlia di Michele) e Gaspare Soranzo. Testimone Zuane Gerardi.

AP Bragora, reg. matrimoni, c. in data

1773, 18 Agosto: matrimonio di Sebastiano Antonio figlio di Iseppo (Giuseppe) di Michele Deconet e Adriana Barsella. Testi Antonio Trevisan camerier e Giacomina Spadette. Nel 1773 nasce anche Pietro Santo di Antonio Deconetti. Un’altra figlia di Antonio, Angela, sposerà l’11 Marzo 1793 Antonio Fagalla di Treviso.

AP Bragora, reg. nascite, c. in data

1775lista sonadori: riunioni Capitoli, Giuseppe e Antonio Deconet

ASV Giustizia Vecchia b.210

1777, 1 Luglio: morte di Paola Stecherle di anni 51: fu sorpresa da un forte accidente nella pubblica strada. Morì senza medico. AP Bragora, reg. morti, c. in data

1780, 26 Febbraio: stato di libertà di Michele Deconet di anni 68, una volta marito di Paola Stecherle morta il 2 Giugno alla Bragora e Maria figlia di Andrea Briganti da Gorizia vedova di Nicola Celega morto il 9 Dicembre 1775 , il primo della parrocchia alla Bragora .

Testi:

-Girolamo Zanchi figlio di Pietro di anni 32, cameriere del nobile Marin Badoer: sono venuto ad istanza di Michiel Deconet e di Maria Briganti relitta Celega per attestare la loro libertà.

Saranno 15 anni che incominciai a praticare alla Bragora, e che li conosco andando frequentemente dal detto Michiel a studiar di violino in casa del quale praticò da sempre la detta Maria e ci siamo in buona amicizia trattati, ne mai partirono da Venezia.

-Francesco Arati,50 anni, parruchier a San Barnaba: li conosco da circa 10 anni essendo stato introdotto nella loro casa da Girolamo Zanchi come amico ed ebbi d’essi sempre precisa cognizione, ne mai partirono da Venezia.

Archivio Patriarcale. Examina matrimoniorum b.295 c.in data

1780, 6 Marzo: matrimonio di Michele Deconet e Maria Briganti. In casa dello sposo. Testimone Girolamo Mario Zanchi stà in s. Angelo. AP Bragora reg. matrimoni, c. in data

1792 – lista sonadori (tasse): Giuseppe e Antonio Deconet ASV Milizia da Mar b.647 /648

1799 – lista sonadori: Giuseppe , Antonio e Angelo Deconet ASV Milizia da Mar b.608

1799, 18 Giugno: Michiel Deconet, non potendo sapere il nome del padre, si anni 88, infermo da mesi 4; per cachessia scorbutica e forte dispnea morì alle ore 7 tedesche; si sepellirà alle ore 2 tedesche . AP S Zuane Bragora, reg. morti. c.in data

1805 - Deconetti Giuseppe (54 anni) – Castello , S. Martino, Calle Erizzo 2195. maritato con 2 figli. Professione affitta letti e suonator di violino, sposato con Angela impiraperle – Anagrafe 1805

1805 - Deconetti Caterina del fu Domenico 60 anni impiraperle – Alla Bragora in Corte del Cagnoletto 3635 del fu Michele - Anagrafe 1805

1800 - Tansa e Taglion per i sonadori: Antonio Deconet (muore 1804) ASV Milizia da Mar b.608

1801/2 - lista sonadori: Giuseppe e Antonio Deconet ASV Milizia da Mar b.608

1803 - lista sonadori (tasse): Deconet Antonio ASV Milizia da Mar b.608

1804 - lista sonadori (tasse): Deconet Antonio + e Giuseppe ASV Milizia da Mar b.608

1804, 1 Luglio: morte di Antonio Deconetti q. Michiel di anni 56. Sposato con Caterina Dianori. Una figlia a nome Angela

AP Bragora, registri morti c. in data

1805 - lista sonadori (tasse): Giuseppe Deconetti ASV Milizia da Mar b.608

1812, 10 Febbraio. Morte di Matilde Deconetti relita di Francesco Vicelli e poi moglie di Carlo Zanetti, di anni 66 abita in Corte Gritti 2280. AP Bragora, registri morti c. in data

1826 – morte di: Deconetti Angela figlia di Antonio Deconetti e della fu Catterina Dionori moglie di Antonio Segalla di anni 55 morì ieri per dissenteria dopo tre mesi di decubito. Pescaria N.3649

AP Bragora, reg. morti carta in data

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10) One critical question is overlooked by Mr. Pio: In the period when the greatest violins and cellos were produced in Venice, was a candidate of the “lauter” subclass within the Venetian Mercer’s Guild required to demonstrate the abililty to personally craft a product like a lute, a violin, guitar, etc.? The answer is clearly “No.” This may be the single greatest difference between the local Venetian tradition and the norms of certain guilds in other parts of Europe. (Rosengard comment)

- In Venice there was no ability exam for liuteri (like in Spain or Portugal for the violeros during Renaissance) because the Guild was thinking enough the apprenticeship path. These apprentices gained their professional experience within the bottega, eventually climbing each rank of the shop’s hierarchy (garzone, giovane, maestro, and finally owner of the shop) and in so doing, they themselves evolved into the custodians of their acquired knowledge. This knowledge, as related to craft in the botteghe, was transmitted also from father to son or from maestro to apprentice in an unbroken chain, according to a tradition that had already been establishedfrom the Middle Ages, as confirmed by an archive recording of 1323 referring of a Luter of luter (a luthier son of another luthier).

Excellence of this system is also proved by the fact that many of the young boys of Allgäu area were send often to Venice to spend the apprentice period before coming back home and opening a liuter workshop.

I don’t see how this difference can have consequence in instrument production or can be pertinent to a discussion on Deconet. Surely he was out of this system.

I had wanted to address this point before, but hadn’t got around to it. I think that there is some misunderstanding here. Some Guilds (Innungen), Markneukirchen for example, “required to demonstrate the ability to personally craft a product like a lute, a violin, guitar, etc.” (Rosengard) This requirement of the Markneukirchen Innung was only for Markneukirchen (in this example) and not for anywhere else.

As an example I have found the original manuscript of the application for permission from Magnus Anton Fichtl in Krems, the pertinent part of which reads:

„Euer Excellenz und Gnaden sehe ich mich

bemüssiget gehors. vorzustellen, wie daß ich

von Lechbrug aus Schwaben gebürtig mich

bereits schon im Jahre 760 nach Wienn in die

Lehr zum hl. Martin Fichtl bürgerl. Lauten

und Geigenmacher begeben, alda ordentlich

die Lehr Jahre erstrebet, und befinde mich,

da ich freygesagt wurde, bisanhero bestän

dig in k.k. Erblanden; auf das ich dießfalls

wegen.Längste Zeit als Inländer anzusehen“

It was quite sufficient for him to be able to state that he had gone to Martin (Matheus) Fichtl in Vienna as a 13 year old and “learnt his craft properly”. There was no exam, in which he had to show an instrument that he had made. Much the same as Prof. Pio explains for Venice

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Sorry if I bother again, I wish to clarify that in my books I simply published data I have discovered and my personal conclusion I reached on them. There is not a research book without conclusions, it would be a catalogue. Data without analysis and interpretation are not useful. Of course I believe in my work but I RESPECT also different points of view including that one of experts that, having in their hands beautiful instruments with Deconet attribution, prefer to base their expertise valuating their common characteristics, giving credit to the previous consolidated tradition and having a their own interpretation of the documents that differs from mine.

Everybody is free to reach his own conclusions on the basis of his personal experience (on instruments and/or documents) and logic. I agree that documents can be sometime interpreted in a different way (as the instruments also). This is postulate valid for me as also for all scholars that are doing research.

Buon Natale

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