Gaspare Lorenzini


Lorenzini, the son of a professional soldier, was born in Piacenza, where he was to spend his entire life. Very few documents – mostly entries in the trade register or census data – provide biographical information about Gaspare Lorenzini. His father, Antonio Lorenzini, is listed as a woodworking craftsman in Piacenza in the year he left the military, 1747, as is his older brother, Baldassare. At this time, Giovanni Battista Guadagnini, who lived close to Lorenzini’s home until 1749, also made string instruments in Piazenca. Therefore, it may be conjectured that the two families were in touch. Whereas no records show where Lorenzini learned the craft, proof of his work is available from the 1750s. In 1766, Lorenzini married Anna Maria Deloggi, his sister-in-law’s sister. The census data of the period 1770 to 1772 indicated that Lorenzini was quite wealthy. In 1809, tax rolls still included him as a violinmaker. Two years later, Lorenzini died in Piacenza at the age of 87.

Although his work as a violinmaker spans several decades, only a handful of violins and violas as well as one violoncello are known today; they testify to his skilled craftsmanship. What has become of all the other instruments he probably built during the course of his long career? One possible explanation might be incorrect attribution: The older literature, such as the early editions of von Lütgendorff’s reference book on string instruments, acknowledges Giovanni Battista’s father, Lorenzo Guadagnini, as a luthier. Yet not one single instrument can be attributed to him with any certainty, so it is questionable whether Lorenzo Guadagnini was a violinmaker at all. Perhaps some of these instruments were in fact built by Lorenzini.