Pressenda: Combined impact

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Despite his instruments showing very little difference in form, Giovanni Francesco Pressenda was one of the most idiosyncratic – and innovative – Italian luthiers of the 19th century. Drawing on 20 years of research, Tsutomu Miyasaka reveals how his style reflected both the French and Italian makers of his day

The work of Giovanni Francesco Pressenda (1777–1854) is a high point in 19th-century Italian violin making. He was highly respected during his lifetime for the quality of his work, and his style strongly influenced all the violin makers in Turin who came after him. It has also attracted the attention of many violin lovers over the ensuing decades. My own research into the luthier, which has been ongoing for the past 20 years, now encompasses observations of 228 violins, 17 violas and 13 cellos. This has allowed me to compile a detailed study of the evolution of Pressenda’s style and working methods, both statistical and observational in nature.


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