Violin by

Gaetano Dionelli
Mantua, 1869

Gaetano Dionelli (1808-1870)

Dionelli spent his life in Mantua, Italy. He trained there with Giuseppe Dall’Aglio, and Dionelli’s work shows stylistic elements common to his famous Mantuan predecessors (Camillo Camilli, Tomasso Balestrieri, and Pietro Guarneri). Dionelli’s output serves as a creative bridge between these older makers and Stefano Scarampella, who would become the city’s most famous maker during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Dionelli also worked as a mason and as a tanner during his career. Since violinmaking was not his only vocation, examples of his output are less common; we’ve seen fewer than a dozen violins and violas combined. Despite their rarity, Dionelli’s instruments exhibit a high level of craftsmanship and quality of sound.

The Dionelli violin we are featuring creates a deep, warm sound with plenty of power and flexibility. It is covered in a rich, dark red varnish characteristic of Dionelli’s best work.