Giuseppe Ornati and Ferdinando Garimberti
The city of Milan, one of the largest in Europe, has always been of global economic and cultural importance. Some of the greatest families of violin makers, including the Grancinos, the Testores, the Landolfis and the Mantegazzas, produced numerous exceptional instruments there from the late 17th century for over a hundred years, and G.B. Guadagnini worked in the city for almost a decade in the middle of the 18th century. Sadly these makers' traditions were lost during the 19th century and by the 1830s it was Turin that had emerged as Italy's main center of fine violin production.
By then Milan's once exceptional and highly productive violin making school was left in the hands of a single excellent and interesting violin maker - Giacomo Rivolta, who despite his ability nevertheless lived in poverty and had no stylistic descendants. During the period leading up to the Risorgimento, Italy's violin making was in a dire state, while foreign schools, led primarily by the French aesthetic of the Vuillaume school, rose to prominence. Only during the second half of the 19th century did a couple of talented Milanese makers appear on the scene: the interesting work of Luigi Bajoni is scarce, while that of the prolific and stylistically similar Giuseppe Tarasconi, a native of Parma who worked in Milan, is too individualistic and at times eccentric to be considered traditionally Milanese.
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