Serious question about Del Gesu


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There are many examples of guild membership amongst violin makers in Italy. In Piacenza Giovanni Baptista used an additional stamp on his label for the first time. This stamp incorporated his initials G.B.G. surmounted by a cross with the letter P beneath. Piacenza’s chamber of merchants granted this stamp, and in their records Giovanni Baptista is registered as a woodworker. Under normal circumstances, for this to have happened, he must have served an apprenticeship of at least four years. At risk of starting another rumour, it might be significant that Antonio Stradivari employed a similar ‘extra’ stamp on his labels.

 

 

 

Happy birthday, Roger!

 

I assume the GBG referred to, here, is GB Guadagnini.

 

If GB Guadagnini was, as Stradivari possibly was, a woodworker before taking up violin making, that would explain the rather late age at which Guadagnini made his earliest violins.  Per Rosengard, GB Guadagnini was born in 1711.  The earliest violin Rosengard presents is 1742, when Guadagnini would have been 31 years old.  That's old to start making violins in an apprentice system in which apprentices, like Andrea Guarneri, were making complete violins in their teens, but the delay is understandable if violin making was GB Guadagnini's second career.

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I do not think that Stradivari was a woodworker but a carver of sacred leaves.

 

A.Stradivari:

 

arpa_particolare.gif

 

G.Bertesi

 

smallAgnolo_006_1.jpg

 

"Woodworker" definitely understates the artistic sculpting in wood that Stradivari did, as exemplified by the 1681 harp attributed to Stradivari.   Piergiuseppe, the image for Stradivari's work you offer above looks like a detail from that harp.

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Yes I kind of had that Bruce, but I really wonder how old the plaque in Via Giuseppe is and also the one that Piergiuseppe showed us. The latter looks quite old. These may be just devotional signs placed on houses, or they may be signs indicating some form of institution. But in the absence of house numbers such signs were often the trade sign of whoever lived there. I seem to remember a thread on this theme some time ago, saying that several signs on houses in London, matched signs on violin labels. In other words these were the equivalent of an address at a time when street names and house number did not exist.   

I am speculating that IHS pattern for his labels GdG found in religious books rather than on the street. Just a thought…

 

post-60277-0-95193700-1421663761_thumb.jpg post-60277-0-48688200-1421663779_thumb.jpg 

                                                                             :)

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It certainly did not take the road. It seems that it is a kind of trade protection.

Some kind of protection without any doubt, yes!

A kind of trade protection? Why only on his labels?

Address? (“I’ll show you a place where streets have no name”) Maybe yes, or maybe not.

 

Note:

I’m not expecting answers; just boring myself and others with thinking… 

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. If you did the same with a Vuillaume copy of a Strad today it would not have that same magical look, whereas on photographs made only 30 years ago would have appeared almost identical. A quarter of a century separates the Plowden and the Viotti violins, but the unmistakable Cremonese hallmarks still shine through. Unmistakable and so far at least, impossible to replicate.

That's an interesting comment.   Is there a close up of a Vuillaume available for comparison?    By magical look are you referring to the finish or the wood work/carving?    Can you point out the Cremonese hallmarks?   referring to finish or wood work / stylistic / design characteristics? 

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That's an interesting comment.   Is there a close up of a Vuillaume available for comparison?    By magical look are you referring to the finish or the wood work/carving?    Can you point out the Cremonese hallmarks?   referring to finish or wood work / stylistic / design characteristics? 

 

I could in fact give you about twenty details, without which an instrument would be unlikely to be a classical Cremonese, but for obvious reasons I am not going to. As I have said before, it is not about details. Details are of course important, but somewhere along the line that 'zen' thing kicks in and you can see, almost in an intuative flash, when an instrument is right. Actually the more I know, the more I realise that I have not quite reached that particular state of enlightenment myself.   

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I could in fact give you about twenty details, without which an instrument would be unlikely to be a classical Cremonese, but for obvious reasons I am not going to. As I have said before, it is not about details. Details are of course important, but somewhere along the line that 'zen' thing kicks in and you can see, almost in an intuative flash, when an instrument is right. Actually the more I know, the more I realise that I have not quite reached that particular state of enlightenment myself.

I love this statement!

It's almost like reproducing the Cremonese sound, but that's easier, you should try sometimes ;)

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I could in fact give you about twenty details, without which an instrument would be unlikely to be a classical Cremonese, but for obvious reasons I am not going to. As I have said before, it is not about details. Details are of course important, but somewhere along the line that 'zen' thing kicks in and you can see, almost in an intuative flash, when an instrument is right. Actually the more I know, the more I realise that I have not quite reached that particular state of enlightenment myself.

I think the one most important point revealed in Vuillaume's work is that he didn't fully understand the Cremonese system of making.
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Carl, I thought that you were trying to be the first to wish me Happy Birthday. I just realised that I have once again worked, (how can anyone call this work) into a new morning and the start of another new year for me.

 

Happy birthday to me 

Happy birthday to me  

De de de de

De de de de

Happy Birthday to me

 

Well thank you very much, I sang that very nicely. Good night! 

 

Happy Birthday to You, Roger !!!!

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I think the one most important point revealed in Vuillaume's work is that he didn't fully understand the Cremonese system of making.

 

I thought Vuillaume used an outside mold, whereas the Cremonese used an inside one.  But surely Vuillaume knew of that difference and the consequent different results.  From what I gather of Vuillaume's ego, he would not have been pleased to have his works mistaken for anybody else's, even the Cremonese.   Any of Vuillaume's deviations from the Cremonese method would, I assume, have been conscious and deliberate.  But I'm happy to be corrected if that, or any other statement here, is a misconception.

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I thought Vuillaume used an outside mold, whereas the Cremonese used an inside one.  But surely Vuillaume knew of that difference and the consequent different results.  From what I gather of Vuillaume's ego, he would not have been pleased to have his works mistaken for anybody else's, even the Cremonese.   Any of Vuillaume's deviations from the Cremonese method would, I assume, have been conscious and deliberate.  But I'm happy to be corrected if that, or any other statement here, is a misconception.

Sacconi also believed that Vuillaume used only an outside form but it was shown to be untrue in an exhibition organised by Etienne Vatelot on J.B. Vuillaume. How frequently he might have used one over the other is speculative.

 

It's clear that Vuillaume was confident of his working ability and proud of his progress and together with his non-Classic Cremonese training could easily have gotten in the way of his understanding Stradivari and the Cremonese system more completely. What I'm trying to say is that certain of his deviations from Stradivari could be unconscious working habits, details that he overlooked and that conscious incorporated changes he felt were actually "improvements" over the Stradivari original. I don't believe, for example, that the purfling running all the way under the fingerboard on the Lady Blunt is necessarily Stradivari original. In original instruments made on the Cremonese system, the purfling stops after going under the fingerboard only for a short distance. The continuation of the purfling is likely a Vuillaume "improvement" which fits well with his character.

post-29446-0-19431800-1421698417_thumb.jpg post-29446-0-45152900-1421698440_thumb.jpg

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I am sure that's right.

Bruce has expanded on that a bit, since the post you quoted.

 

I might tend to agree with the notion that Vuillaume's intent was not to copy in the strictest way, but to also incorporate what he saw as improvements, for better or worse.

 

A variety of attempts at both flavors are still going on today, for better or worse.

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I could in fact give you about twenty details, without which an instrument would be unlikely to be a classical Cremonese, but for obvious reasons I am not going to. As I have said before, it is not about details. Details are of course important, but somewhere along the line that 'zen' thing kicks in and you can see, almost in an intuative flash, when an instrument is right. Actually the more I know, the more I realise that I have not quite reached that particular state of enlightenment myself.

That's sorta what I was trying to say in my long winded blaaaa,,,ather.

It didn't seem to matter what kind of a pickle DG got himself into, it seems he could gracefully carve his way out of it.

I'm just really glad Strad didn't take to carving heads on his fiddles,,it would have become the standard.

He also probably made his own clothes,darned his own socks and made scented candles, the best in the land,,used in all the churches.

When these guys learned that so much money could be made from pasta, then everyone was competing,,

rigatoni, macaroni, fettucini, anelloni, capellini, perciatelli ,,, aren't there some Stradarveri noodles out there some where,

made out of special treated wheat that is only harvested on the full moon or something.

bye

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Hold on a minute, guys. There seems to be a huge "piling on" of Vuillaume going on here, and I think we'd better be careful not to be too smug about our modern "forensic" approach to copying Strad and Del Gesu. Please take a step back to look at the evolution of Strad "copying." Maybe the only "Strad inspired" makers to have a fully Cremonese method were Bergonzi, and early Del Gesu, and they wound up doing their own thing, not copying Strad.

 

Who actually did try to understand the "Cremonese method" and when? Jacob Saunders has already voiced dissent that there's all that much Strad influence in Parkers. Buchstetter did a decent take on the outline, the arching and the ff's, but the rest is based on his own traditions and methods. Contreras was also strongly Strad inspired, but his corner blocks are tiny and lead one to believe he was building off the back, and his pattern was pretty oversized and personal. Guadagnini had a method that was pretty close to Cremonese (maybe coming from H. Amati jr.'s stint in Piacenza), but his Turin fiddles never really could be called Strad "copies." Pique may have been one of the first to really start trying to copy Strad, but his methods and traditions were pretty far from Cremonese. Lupot got much closer in many respects, but certain things like the symmetry of his violins show a different basic appraoch to making. After Lupot, who was seriously copying Strad (and other classical makers) tweeking his method to get closer to the original than anyone else had up to that point? Vuillaume. Sorry, there were no Hargraves, Alf & Curtins, nor Ziggy's at the time, from 1840-1870, about the best Strad/Del Gesu/Amati/Maggini copy you could get was from Mr. V. OK, there was Lott as well and Nemessanyi and a bit later, the Voller Bros. but who among them nailed the "Cremonese method?" 

 

Personally; I have a tremendous amount of respect for all of these makers of the past, and I think we're being a bit smug by looking down on the way they may have disregarded things that, thanks to people like Roger who have been so generous with their findings and knowledge, we seem to take for granted today.

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Hold on a minute, guys. There seems to be a huge "piling on" of Vuillaume going on here, and I think we'd better be careful not to be too smug about our modern "forensic" approach to copying Strad and Del Gesu. Please take a step back to look at the evolution of Strad "copying." Maybe the only "Strad inspired" makers to have a fully Cremonese method were Bergonzi, and early Del Gesu, and they wound up doing their own thing, not copying Strad.

 

Who actually did try to understand the "Cremonese method" and when? Jacob Saunders has already voiced dissent that there's all that much Strad influence in Parkers. Buchstetter did a decent take on the outline, the arching and the ff's, but the rest is based on his own traditions and methods. Contreras was also strongly Strad inspired, but his corner blocks are tiny and lead one to believe he was building off the back, and his pattern was pretty oversized and personal. Guadagnini had a method that was pretty close to Cremonese (maybe coming from H. Amati jr.'s stint in Piacenza), but his Turin fiddles never really could be called Strad "copies." Pique may have been one of the first to really start trying to copy Strad, but his methods and traditions were pretty far from Cremonese. Lupot got much closer in many respects, but certain things like the symmetry of his violins show a different basic appraoch to making. After Lupot, who was seriously copying Strad (and other classical makers) tweeking his method to get closer to the original than anyone else had up to that point? Vuillaume. Sorry, there were no Hargraves, Alf & Curtins, nor Ziggy's at the time, from 1840-1870, about the best Strad/Del Gesu/Amati/Maggini copy you could get was from Mr. V. OK, there was Lott as well and Nemessanyi and a bit later, the Voller Bros. but who among them nailed the "Cremonese method?" 

 

Personally; I have a tremendous amount of respect for all of these makers of the past, and I think we're being a bit smug by looking down on the way they may have disregarded things that, thanks to people like Roger who have been so generous with their findings and knowledge, we seem to take for granted today.

Michael,

 

For me there was no intention to trash Vuillaume. Successful musicians have played and are still playing his instruments, what better endorsement could you have? JBV was totally immersed in every aspect of violinmaking and, in addition, knew how to promote and sell what he made. I always take the time to study carefully a Vuillaume if one comes through the shop, not to do so would be smug.

 

Bruce

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