Milano School

The Milanese School of violin making began with Giovanni Grancino (1637–1709) and his brother Francesco Grancino, whose unique style evolved into the School’s hallmark and promoted its later development.

It is said that Giovanni Grancino had been an apprentice of Nicolò Amati, though his instruments differ greatly from the Amati in the choice of wood, color and texture of varnish, and construction design. We believe that these differences bestowed the Milanese School with its eccentric style, which prevailed in the northern Italian city of Milan from 1680s to 1820s.

An anecdote also contributed to a significant impact on the Milanese School. In 1708, Giovanni Battista Grancino (1673–c.1730) , son of the aforementioned Giovanni, inadvertently killed Antonio Maria Lavazza (1683–1708) during a fight. Although he evaded the execution, after the demise of his father in the following year, their property was confiscated, their workshop license invalidated, thus the workshop had to be taken over by their apprentice Carlo Giuseppe Testore (c.1660–1716) . Since then, Giovanni Battista Grancino could only make instruments in secret.

It was not long before the Testores became one of the major families of violin making in Milan. Carlo Giuseppe died a few years after taking over the workshop, leaving it into the hands of his sons Carlo Antonio (1693–c1765) and Paulo Antonio (1700–1767) . The Testore family remained active in violin making in Milan until Giovanni Testore (1724–1765) , son of Carlo Antonio.

The Landolfi family succeeded the Testore family, to begin with Carlo Ferdinando Landolfi (c1710–1784) who learned the craft from Carlo Giuseppe Testore. However, Landolfi’s work deviates from the typical Milanese style and somewhat resembles that of Giovanni Battista Guadagnini, of the Piedmont School.

Carlo Ferdinando’s son Pietro Antonio Landolfi (c1730–1795) and Pietro Giovanni Mantegazza (c1730–1803) , apprentice of their workshop represented another branch of violin making and collector family in Milan. The Mantegazza family flourished from 1760 to 1824, and after the death of Pietro Giovanni, the mantle was taken over by his two sons, Francesco (1762–1824) and Carlo (1772–1814).

Giacomo Rivolta combined various characteristics of Stradivari and Mantegazza, including deep channeling along the edges and developed his own style of violin making. Most of his works were violas and violoncellos of “grand pattern”; on the contrary, he made very little violins. Between 1820 and 1840 Rivolta’s craftsmanship reached its mature stage, with his violas now renowned worldwide. Rivolta played an indispensable role in the history of viola development and was recognized as the last master of the Milanese School.

Instruments of the Milanese School are characterized by their deep channeling, with the backs made of little flamed wood. The violas and violoncellos are especially famed, mostly with dark red and amber-colored varnish. The backs were often decorated with blackened inscribed lines rather than purflings. Although not considered costly instruments, Milanese violas and violoncellos still retained an important place in the history of music.

Santino Lavazza, 1689-1726

Santino. Lavazza with his brother Antonio, Maria Lavazza (1683-1708) making violin in Milano, but in 1708, Giovanni Batista Gelanqinuo killed Antonio Maria Lavazza by accident. However, Santino Lavazza was a very special author, his works were very different from the Milan school, but he only had a few selections.

Giocomo Rivolta, c. 1770-1844

Giocomo Rivolta was born in Novara in 1770, and moved to Milan in 1790, during which time he started out making guitars, and eventually once he obtained the patronage of Count Ignazio Alessandro Cozio, he was able to use Antonio Stradivari’s tools, including his diagrams and molds to make violins. With the aid of these things, he became the greatest luthier in all of northern Italy.

He combined the Stradivari and Mantegazza styles of the Milan school, allowing the plates to hang slightly over the edge of the ribs, creating his own distinct characteristics. Giocomo mostly made violas and cellos, but very few violins. His violas are much bigger than the viola’s traditional size.

Of all the instruments he made that are currently known, the earliest one was made in 1818, while 1820-1840 was his most mature period as a luthier. His violas are quite renowned and among the most well known instruments in the world.

Celestino Farotto, 1905-1988

Celestino Farotto (1905-1988) learned how to make instruments at his uncle Celeste Farotto’s (1864-1928) studio in Milan as a child. He participated in Cremona’s exhibition in 1937, and won luthier awards in Rome in 1927, Padua in 1932, Cremona in 1949, 1958 and 1960, and Genoa in 1971. In 1949 he won second place and a silver medal.

In his early years, Celestino was greatly influenced by his uncle Celeste Farotto, and you can also see traces of his uncle’s labels in Celestino’s early instruments. It was not until his uncle passed away that he began using his own individual labels and pioneered his own style. Celestino combined the styles of his uncle, Stradivari as well as Pressenda. His varnishes are usually a reddish orange.

Giovanni Francesco Leoriporri, fc. 1750-c. 1765

朗切斯科‧喬凡尼‧利歐瑞波利 (Giovanni Francesco Leoriporri, fc. 1750-c. 1765)可能是蒂洛爾人(Tyrolese)。約1750年至1765年間在米蘭工作,他的提琴表現出相當高的藝術天分,其提琴外框仿照阿瑪蒂(Amati),而背板弧度較方且琴板邊帶弧度起伏極大,具有南德克洛茲(Klotz)的特色。F孔的修鑿略嫌直接,琴頭線條稍嫌不夠優美。利歐瑞波利習慣使用黃褐色琴漆,其優秀作品則讓人聯想到喬凡尼‧葛蘭奇諾(Giovanni Grancino, 1637-1709) 的作品,但有些作品的漆色則過於混濁,甚至有些背板木紋用彩繪方式裝飾,目前留於世上的作品極少。

Ferdinando Alberti, fc. 1730-c. 1769

迪南多.奧伯提(Ferdinando Alberti,1730-1769)長期幫泰斯托瑞 (Testore)家族工作,所製作的樂器與米蘭學派創始者喬凡尼‧葛蘭奇諾(Giovanni Grancino, 1637-1709)有許多相似之處,尤其是小提琴。奧伯提的提琴大多採用偏黃色琴漆,體型上較小,背板弧度較大,使用較為劣質的木頭,顏色呈深咖啡色,但是樂器音色效果極佳。

Giuseppe Tarasconi, 1851-1922

賽佩.特拉斯康尼(Giuseppe Tarasconi, 1851-1922),1851年出生於義大利帕瑪(Parma),是加埃塔諾‧羅西(Gaetano Rossi)的學生。特拉斯康尼所製作的樂器帶有一般的弧度結構,是來自史特拉底瓦里模型,他使用的漆色偏黃紅色調或帶有一點褐色,有趣的是,還傾向加入碎裂般的花紋。特拉斯康尼在1890年左右減少樂器製作,轉而投入古樂器的買賣交易,他跟米蘭著名琴商里德羅‧畢席亞克 (Leandro Bisiach, 1864-1945)有商業往來,兒子Mirco也是製琴家。

Luigi Bartolotti, fc. 1810-c. 1830

易吉.巴托洛帝(Luigi Bartolotti, fc. 1810-c. 1830) ,1810年到1830年間活躍於米蘭,他的作品表現出米蘭學派一脈相傳的優良傳統,其工藝相當完美,接近零瑕疵,並且擅用黃色琴漆,摻雜少量但具有效果的橘色調,在部分作品上會標示” Luigi Bartolotti ”加上年份的字樣。目前留於世上的作品極少,根據英國 JA Beare 記錄,至目前為止僅有奇美文化基金會所擁有這把琴的紀錄,這是巴托洛帝唯一一把具有原始標籤的琴。