A Storioni violin from 1793 comes back to life

Thanks to an integrated project between art, science and education, the precious violin ” Small ” by Lorenzo Storioni is returned to the community.

Milan, 25 September 2018 – Lorenzo Storioni’s ” Small ” violin of 1793 is the subject of a complex and structured intervention that involves the acquisition, study, analysis, restoration and public display of a refined “jewel” of Cremonese violinmaking, thanks to the partnership between the Bracco Foundation, the City of Cremona and the Violin Museum, as part of the actions coordinated by the Cultural District of Violinmaking.

The “Piccolo” is a violin of reduced size, an authentic work in all its parts by the Cremonese luthier Lorenzo Storioni (1744-1816), proven by an authentic cartouche by the author. The instrument is an admirable example of violinmaking from the end of the 18th century, which, besides having an important value as an object of study and a typical example of the work of Storioni, is of particular interest: Storioni is in fact an author of whom Cremona, centre of excellence for the famous stringed instruments with the Violin Museum and the Cultural District of Violinmaking, does not possess any examples. “The recovery of a unique piece that will return also thanks to our Foundation, to its ancient splendour, is an initiative that sums up all the peculiar characteristics of our projects”, says Diana Bracco, President of the Bracco Foundation. “The close link between art, music and scientific research, the collaboration between Italian excellence, the sharing of knowledge at different levels, the involvement of museums, universities and research centres, the highly multidisciplinary dimension. A project that tells a beautiful story: that of the Italian luthier tradition and its indissoluble bond with Cremona, a wonderful city with which I had the pleasure of collaborating at the time of EXPO 2015. Within this story there is another one, smaller, but equally fascinating, of which we are particularly proud: that of the recovery of a unique piece that, thanks to the intervention of the Bracco Foundation, comes back to life and from March 2019 will be part of the permanent collection of the Violin Museum.

“For almost 50 years the city of Cremona has not bought a historical violin to increase its collection,” says Gianluca Galimberti, Mayor of Cremona. “In 2005 there was the great operation linked to the splendid Vesuvius, testamentary legacy that contributed to increasing the prestige of the violins heritage of the city. Now, thanks to the collaboration between the Municipality, the Bracco Foundation that financed the project and the Violin Museum, Cremona has the opportunity to acquire a precious instrument that is an admirable example of 18th century violin making. It will be studied by our research laboratories, restored as part of the new degree course in Restoration of musical and scientific instruments, also analyzed with the violinmaking community and exhibited next to the Stradivari, Guarneri and Amati in the temple of stringed instruments, music and sound that is our Museum of Violin. This is also the result of the Cultural District of Violin Making, a project that makes Cremona a great laboratory, unique in the world for the growth of the knowledge of our violin makers, with institutions, research laboratories, violin making school, universities and workshops of artisan artists, to support economically and culturally the Cremona system and strengthen its image in the world. The absolute and very strong thanks go to the Bracco Foundation that we met during Expo and that has accompanied us on a long journey. I would like to thank President Diana Bracco and the entire Foundation for their competence and far-sightedness, which they also demonstrate on the occasion of this synergy and which gives our city a unique opportunity. Cremona, even in this way, makes the know-how of making luthiers, a world heritage site, concrete and topical.

“Thanks to the Bracco Foundation, Cremona and the Violin Museum are enriched with a new masterpiece” continues Virginia Villa, General Manager of the Violin Museum. “It is a time not only of great social value, but also of particular historical importance violin making. Lorenzo Storioni’s small violin is, in fact, one of the very few works by this author in the Italian public collections. Probably used by a child, it is an important and rare example of an eighteenth-century Cremonese instrument that has now reached its original and intact condition. The head, neck, fingerboard and paint have not been altered: all of them describe it as an extraordinary testimony to the construction techniques used in Cremona at the end of the eighteenth century”.

The project “I cantieri del suono”, of the highest cultural and scientific value, is located in a multidisciplinary area where art, science and education work closely together. The project is in fact articulated in the historical, organological and philological study of the instrument, supported by a diagnostic campaign for the analysis of materials and technical construction characteristics. This will be followed by the restoration of the instrument by renowned master violinmakers and the inclusion of the violin in the permanent collection of the Violin Museum, scheduled for March 2019.

The researchers have identified as the purpose of the restoration the recovery of the shape and not the function of the violin: the process will then restore the instrument to its former glory, testifying to the eighteenth-century construction technique.

The campaign of scientific surveys conducted at the Arvedi Laboratory of Non-invasive Surveys (CISRiC – University of Pavia) and the implementation of the restoration, in addition to the cultural value linked to the recovery of an instrument, which has the dignity of a work of art, have a formative value: they are in fact a valuable opportunity for study for young students of the degree course in Conservation and Restoration of musical instruments at the University of Pavia, unique in Italy.

Cremona is now a reference point for an ancient excellence of Made in Italy that is renewed in the meeting with other disciplines: scientists, material experts, art historians, engineers, restorers, luthiers and musicologists collaborate in the development of knowledge and skills in the field of conservation and restoration of historical musical instruments.

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