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Francesco Rugeri violin, Cremona circa 1680
Catalog ID: C-2068

Among the most renowned violin makers in history, Francesco Rugeri (Ruggeri, Ruggieri, c. 1628–1698) worked in Cremona, Italy during the mid to late 17th century at the same time as Nicolò (Nicola, Niccolò) Amati, Andrea Guarneri, and Antonio Stradivari. Although it is unclear whether Rugeri formally apprenticed with Amati—as Andrea Guarneri had and Stradivari likely had—he evidently studied or worked in some capacity with the elder maker, while also developing a close personal relationship with the Amati family. Nicolò Amati was chosen as the godfather to Rugeri's second son Giacinto (1661–1697), who assisted in his father's workshop alongside his brothers Giovanni Battista (1653–1711) and Vincenzo (1663–1719). Some of Rugeri's instrument labels include the designation "Alumnus Nicolai Amati," and a few masterful copies were labeled only with the prestigious Amati name — a common practice among violin makers to increase sales. Those built during his most prolific period between 1670 through the 1680s particularly display the influence of Amati's "Grand" violin pattern.

That Francesco Rugeri is today considered by many to be a maker of importance and influence equal to Amati is due to his exceptional craftsmanship, pioneering experiments with smaller cello designs that would lead to the standardization of modern cello dimensions, and notable departures from certain methods typical of Amati—all of which can be found in the work of his younger contemporaries, including Antonio Stradivari and Andrea Guarneri. His legacy continued through succeeding generations with the work of his son Vincenzo, who took over the Rugeri workshop, and the latter's celebrated pupil, Carlo Bergonzi. Rugeri's instruments are very highly desirable.

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