It’s not often that a violin evokes a Renaissance polymath, but a French auction house touts such a violin.
The century-old string instrument, which will go under the Aguttes hammer in June, has been dubbed the Leonardo da Vinci of violins because of the meticulousness of its craftsmanship.
Originating in Cremona, Italy around 1736, the maple-backed fiddle was handcrafted by revered Italian luthier Giuseppe Guarneri at the height of his career. Moreover, the instrument has been in the hands of the French virtuoso Régis Pasquier for 20 years and accompanies him in the most revered concert halls of the world.
“There are a lot of violins, but this one is like selling a Rembrandt, a Goya or even a painting by Leonardo da Vinci,” Sophie Perrine d’Aguttes told Reuters.
Indeed, Guarneri is considered the greatest luthier of all time alongside Antonio Stradivari. His string creations have been finished to the highest standards and are synonymous with quality and longevity in the world of classical music today. They are incredibly rare too; Guarneri only made 150 violins in his lifetime, making them particularly coveted by musicians and collectors. In fact, Aguttes claims that no Guarneri “Del Gesu” violin has appeared at auction in over a decade.
Pasquier picked up this particular rarity two decades ago. According to the auction house, the violinist performed with her the day after her purchase, without even practicing. He has since played it at Carnegie Hall in New York and at the Opéra Garnier in Paris.
“This instrument sounds by itself; it has exceptional resonance,” the musician said in a statement.
As you’d expect, the 18th century instrument won’t come cheap. The violin, which will be auctioned near Paris on June 3, has an estimated base price of $4.2-4.8 million (€4-4.5 million). However, Perrine believes he could shell out up to $10.6m (€10m). Hey, what were you waiting for the Leonardo of the violins?