In Focus: A 1689 Andrea Guarneri cello


Julian Hersh examines an instrument from one of the most important families of Italian violin makers

This article appeared in the August 2019 issue

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This instrument features in the book In Focus 2: click here to buy a copy

Andrea Guarneri was the patriarch of one of the most important families of Italian violin makers. It included his sons, Pietro of Mantua and Giuseppe ‘filius Andreae’, and grandsons Pietro of Venice and Giuseppe Guarneri ‘del Gesù’. Only the Amati family, with its five illustrious makers (Andrea, Antonio, Hieronymus I, Nicolò, Hieronymus II) shares such a rich lineage. The two families also had a close personal connection: as a young apprentice Andrea Guarneri was trained in the workshop of Nicolò and lived in the Amati household. He was also a witness at Nicolò Amati’s wedding.

Some instruments attributed to Andrea Guarneri show the hand of his sons: in the 1670s Pietro of Mantua, and by the mid-1680s Giuseppe ‘filius Andreae’, who took over the shop after Andrea’s death in 1698. It is especially true of Andrea’s cellos, where the collaboration of ‘filius Andreae’ is evident in many of the later examples, including this cello dated 1689…

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