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Giuseppe Ornati violin, Milan 1924

Catalog ID: C-2372

Giuseppe Ornati (b.1887, d.1965) was an Italian luthier recognized as one of the finest violin makers of the 20th century. He trained in woodworking and initially worked as a carpenter. He moved to Milan in the early 1900s, where he learned violin making under Luigi Montanari. He went on to become an apprentice of the great Leandro Bisiach and worked with Gaetano Sgarabotto and Bisiach's sons.

During World War I, Giuseppe Ornati established himself as an independent maker and expert restorer. In 1919, he opened his own firm, though he maintained a lifelong personal and work relationship with the Bisiachs. His instruments were celebrated for their refined and precise craftsmanship, especially of his soundholes, which were usually slanted and set rather further apart.

A master of the modern Milanese school, he received numerous accolades well into the latter part of his career, including a first prize for a violin at the National Competition Rome in 1920. Giuseppe Ornati wore many hats. Apart from making, repairing, and restoring stringed instruments, he was also an amateur cellist and a dealer. During the 1930s, he was named the official violin maker for the La Scala theater. He also briefly taught at the Cremona International Violin Making School and was an active member of the Associazione Nazionale Liuteria Artistica Italiana.

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