How a Guarneri violin was discovered in the attic

Discovering that the violin found in your attic is an authentic masterpiece dating back to the golden age of Cremonese violin making is the dream of every musician and enthusiast. And this is what happened a few days ago in a place that remained top-secret, where a citizen had an old violin analyzed and discovered that it was made by Giuseppe Guarneri (father of Guarneri del Gesù), dating back to the beginning of the eighteenth century.

But how do you make sure that the violin is really an old masterpiece? We rely on dendrochronology, a technique that allows the wood to be dated thanks to the analysis of the rings. "Dendrochronology can help identify the origin of the wood and provide technical details on the width and regularity of the rings," Bernabei, from the Institute of Bioeconomy of the National Research Council (CNR-IBE), explained to “Il Giorno”.

In this case, "the last ring on the soundboard dates back with certainty to the year 1696, corresponding to the golden period of classical Cremonese violin making. Subsequently, the comparison with the growth rings measured on an instrument of certain and documented attribution made it possible to hypothesize the attribution of the violin to Giuseppe Guarneri, filius Andreae (Andrea’s son), father of the famous Guarneri del Gesù. The research went deeper from a technical and stylistic point of view, thanks also to the help of internationally renowned experts who confirmed the discovery”, added the researcher. 

"The direct comparison with other instruments of the same luthier made it possible to identify a 'twin' violin also privately owned, built with certainty by Giuseppe Guarneri, identical in all respects: construction characteristics and use of wood from the same trunks".