In Focus: A 1770 violin by Alessandro Gagliano

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Written by Rolf Eckstein

Alessandro Gagliano worked in Naples from around 1700 to 1730 and is regarded as the best and most famous maker of his illustrious Neapolitan dynasty. Although an label in an instrument of 1701 calls him a pupil of Stradivari, there is no proof that he ever was. It is also not known where Alessandro learnt his craft. While he was clearly an individualist, his instruments display many features indicating a close association with the very best northern Italian traditions. Only his occasional eccentricities and his obvious lack of attention to detail prevent him from ranking alongside the finest Cremonese makers. His creative work is varied and echoes that of Stradivari and Guarneri ‘del Gesù’, without ever trying to copy them. His scrolls, for example, are quite distinct.

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