As the oldest son of Andrea Guarneri, it is unusual that Pietro did not take charge of the family workshop when he came of age. Instead, he departed for nearby Mantua by 1683, leaving his brother Giuseppe as the heir apparent. Pietro found employment as a musician in Mantua, but the emergence of Antonio Stradivari might have suggested to Pietro that his fortune as a violin maker would be found elsewhere.
Many experts consider Pietro’s craftsmanship to be the best of the family. He made numerous violins but no violas, and just one cello has survived. This elegant and early example recalls his father’s work, but with bolder modelling, more refined sculpting, and workmanship characteristics unique to Pietro. It has an astonishingly fine sound that is as glorious as any Italian-made instrument of the time.
This violin gains its name from the aviation pioneer Igor Sikorsky, who purchased it toward the beginning of the 20th century for his son Nikolai, an accomplished violinist. Thereafter, Emil Herrmann sold it to a Joyce Feldman of New York in 1956 before it was sold in 1979 to the most recent owner, an amateur violinist and collector.