A violin by Giovanni Paolo Maggini, Brescia, early 17th century

April 22nd, 2010

Giovanni Paolo Maggini (1580 – c.1630) was a leading exponent of the Brescian school of making and during his career became by far the predominant maker in the city. He was born in Botticino Sera, not far from Brescia, and studied as an apprentice with Gasparo Bertolotti “da Salò”. Although his work follows the style of “da Salò”, he far surpassed hismaster in productivity, making numerous fine violins of a small and larger size, as well as many violas, a few cellos and basses, and miscellaneous instruments such as citterns. His death created a void in Brescian making that was not filled until the arrival of Cremonese-trained Giovanni Battista Rogeri at the end of the 17th century.

Brescian violin making arose alongside that of nearby Cremona, but it was very much an independent school whose makers developed their own approach to the craft. In particular, Brescian instruments are notable for their full, dark tone quality, created by a distinctive arching design rising sharply from the purfling. The highly desirable sonority of Maggini’s often large violins attracted the attention of makers in Cremona and led Antonio Stradivari, constantly in search of an improved sound, to design his Long Pattern violin in the 1690s. Maggini’s influence is even more evident in the work of Giuseppe Guarneri “del Gesù”, who both imitated his f-hole design and in his later period used a Brescian arching style.

In the 19th century Maggini instruments were sought after by players, and many copies of his work date from this period. This was reflected in the prices paid for his instruments, which a hundred years ago were much closer to those of Stradivari than they are today.

This violin is one of Maggini’s larger models and features the double purfling often seen on Brescian instruments, as well as notably attractive wood. Its head, which has an extra turn to the volute as is common with Maggini copies, is not original. The violin is sold with certificates from Kagen & Gaines and from Carl Becker & Son.

The violin is available to view in our New York office before the sale, and also in Boston April 23-25. To make an appointment to view, email info@tarisio.com or call +1.212.307.7224.