Francesco Rugeri
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Francesco Rugeri
Francesco Rugeri
Born c.1628
Cremona, Lombardy,
Duchy of Milan (present-day Italy)
Died 28 October 1698(1698-10-28) (aged 69-70)
Cremona, Lombardy
Resting place Church of the Holy Trinity, Crema, Cremona
Residence San Bernardo (outskirt of Cremona)
Education
Known for Luthier
Style
  • Rugeri style
  • Amati style
Movement Cremonese school

Francesco Rugeri (Cremona, b. c.1628; d. 28 October 1698), also known as Ruger, Rugier, Rugeri, Ruggeri, Ruggieri, Ruggerius, was the first of an important family of luthiers, the Casa Rugeri in Cremona, Italy. His instruments are masterfully constructed. His violins are inspired by Nicolò Amati's "Grand Amati" pattern. Francesco was the first to develop a smaller cello design, which has become the standard for modern cello dimensions.[1][2] Today, Rugeri's instruments are nearly as renowned as Nicolò Amati's instruments.[3]

Biography

He was perhaps the earliest apprentice of Nicolò Amati,[4] another important luthier in Cremona Italy, although other sources call this association into question as there is no census record showing his presence in the Amati household.[5] The lack of census records showing the Rugeri name may be explained by the possibility of Francesco not being an indoor apprentice, but one who lived and boarded at his own home while apprenticing.[6]Antonio Stradivari's name never appears in the census records of the Amati household even though he was also a likely pupil of Nicolò Amati and lived and boarded with his own family. W.E. Hill & Sons also note that the unmistakable handiwork of Francesco Rugeri can be found, in certain of Nicolo Amati's works, and just like Antonio Stradivari and Andrea Guarneri, Francesco from time to time included the words "Alumnus Nicolai Amati" on his labels, further adding to evidence of his apprenticeship.[7] For example, there exists a violin labelled "Francescus Rugerius Alumnus Nicolai Amati fecit Cremonæ 1663".[8] Nicolò Amati was the godfather to Francesco's son, Giacinto, indicating that the two families at least shared a close relationship and close collaboration would seem likely.[9][10]

In support of Rugeri being a pupil of Nicolò Amati, there is a court case brought in 1685 by a violinist who sought relief from the Duke of Modena as a victim of fraud. In this case, the violinist and composer Tomaso Antonio Vitali, bought a violin purporting to be a creation of Nicolò Amati. Yet under the Amati label was the label of Francesco Rugeri. There was a price difference in those days of 3 to 1 on Amati vs. Rugeri violins, so this was a serious matter.[11] However, this case may also indicate that Rugeri, who was working in the shadow of the great Cremona makers—Amati, Guarneri, and Stradivari—resorted to a desperate act to make a sale. The result of the court case is not known, but either scenario could prove valid.

Some researchers believe there is a closer educational association between Antonio Stradivari and Francesco Rugeri than has previously been recognized. Despite the long-held belief that Antonio Stradivari was the pupil of Nicolò Amati, there are important discrepancies between their work. Some researchers believe early instruments by Stradivari bear a stronger resemblance to Francesco Rugeri's work than Amati's. Additionally, the utilization of a small dorsal pin or small hole, invariably used not just by Nicolò Amati but all of his recognized pupils--with the exception of Antonio Stradivari, adds further evidence that Stradivari may have learnt his craft apart from Amati. This pin or hole was fundamental in the graduation of the thickness of the plates and was obviously a technique passed on through generations of pupils of the Amati.[12] This dorsal pin is also not found in any of the instruments of the Rugeri family, suggesting Antonio Stradivari may have actually learnt his craft from Francesco Rugeri, although both being influenced by Amati.[13]W.E. Hill & Sons concede that they fail to find the hand of Stradivari in any of Nicolo Amati's work, although the unmistakable hands of Andrea Guarneri and Francesco Rugeri are evident.[14]

Count Ignazio Alessandro Cozio di Salabue and other early violin connoisseurs such as the Mantegazza brothers seemed to confuse the families of the Rugeri working in Cremona with the family of Giovanni Battista Rogeri working in Brecia. These two separate families of violin makers both followed the Amati tradition of violin making however their work is distinctive from each other are not thought to be related. The Rugeri family included the words "il Per" or "detto il Per" in their labels. This nickname appears also in almost all of the religious and legal documents pertaining to the Rugeri family from 1669 onward and was probably meant to distinguish them from the many other Rugeri families in the region.[15]

Career

Francesco lived and worked just outside of the walls of Cremona, Italy in the Parishes of San Bernardo at No. 7 Contrada Coltellai and also in the Parsish of San Sebastiano [16] His most productive period was during the 1670s-1680s during which time he closely followed the instruments of Nicolò Amati, sometimes even placing Amati labels in his instruments. His success peaked after Nicolò Amati's decline and before the rise of the workshop of Antonio Stradivari. Francesco's violins were characterized by a high level of craftsmanship and a very slightly higher arch. After 1670, Francesco was ably assisted by 3 of his sons in his workshop. The Rugeri tradition was carried on and developed by Francesco's son, Vincenzo Rugeri, who was the only of his sons to later have an independent successful career as a luthier.

Instruments created by Rugeri are highly desirable owing to their high level of craftsmanship and tone.

Francesco was buried in the Church of San Trinita.

Cello size pioneer

Francesco Rugeri was the first to make an important contribution to cello making in the development of a smaller version of the cello that is now the standard.[1][17] His cello is 4 inches (10 cm) smaller from the cellos made by other same period Cremonese luthiers, Amati and Stradivari.[18] Cellos made by the others luthiers are quite massive and fairly unmanageable for modern players' usage unless severely cut down in size.[19]

Casa Rugeri

Francesco is the founder of Rugeri family, also known as Ruggieri Family. Three of his four sons follow his footsteps by involving in string instruments making.[20]

Other luthiers in the family are:[21]

  • Giovanni Battista Rugeri (b. 2 July 1653; d. 14 Dec 1711) was the eldest son of Francesco Rugeri.
  • Giacinto Rugeri (b. 15 May 1661; d. 2 June 1697) was the second son of Francesco Rugeri. Nicolò Amati was his godfather.[22]
  • Vincenzo Rugeri (b. 30 September 1663; d. 4 May 1719) was the third son of Francesco Rugeri. Vincenzo enjoyed considerable fortune as a violin maker and was possibly the finest craftsman of the family.[23] His violins advanced upon the models of his father, retaining the Grand Amati form but adapting a flatter arch inspired by Stradivari. The overall quality of his instruments is exceptional and deserve to be ranked at least as high as those of his more famous father.[24] Vincenzo is also now known to have been the teacher of Carlo Bergonzi (luthier).[25]
  • Carlo Rugeri (b. 1666; d. 1713) does not appear to have been involved with the family's violin shop and likely pursued another vocation.
  • Antonio Rugeri was the son of Giacinto Rugeri.

References

  1. ^ a b Stowell, Robin (1999). The Cambridge Companion to the Cello. London: Cambridge University Press.
  2. ^ "Famous Early Italian Makers of Cellos". Cello.org. Retrieved 2018.
  3. ^ "Francesco Rugeri". Tarisio.com. Retrieved 2018.
  4. ^ Smithsonian Institution. "Violin Makers of the Ruggieri Family". Archived from the original on 2006-10-18. Retrieved .
  5. ^ Bartruff, William. "The History of the Violin". Archived from the original on 2007-02-08. Retrieved .
  6. ^ Wurlitzer, W. Henry Hill, Arthur F. Hill and Alfred E. Hill ; with a new introduction by Sydney Beck and new supplementary indexes by Rembert (1963). Antonio Stradivari : his life and work, 1664-1737 (New Dover ed.). New York: Dover. p. 28. ISBN 978-0486204253.
  7. ^ Wurlitzer, W. Henry Hill, Arthur F. Hill and Alfred E. Hill ; with a new introduction by Sydney Beck and new supplementary indexes by Rembert (1963). Antonio Stradivari : his life and work, 1664-1737 (New Dover ed.). New York: Dover. pp. 27 and 31. ISBN 978-0486204253.
  8. ^ "Francesco Rugeri, Violin, 1660". Tarisio. Retrieved 2018.
  9. ^ Chiesa, Carlo (Dec 2012). "In the Footsteps of a Master". The Strad: 52.
  10. ^ "Francesco Ruggieri". Ingles & Hayday. Retrieved 2018.
  11. ^ Shrader, Erin. "Designer Labels". Retrieved .
  12. ^ Poulain, Yann (May 2018). "Geometrical Progression". The Strad. 129: 54-58.
  13. ^ Carlo Bergonzi: Alla scoperta di un grande Maestro by By Christopher Reuning
  14. ^ Wurlitzer, W. Henry Hill, Arthur F. Hill and Alfred E. Hill ; with a new introduction by Sydney Beck and new supplementary indexes by Rembert (1963). Antonio Stradivari : his life and work, 1664-1737 (New Dover ed.). New York: Dover. pp. 27 and 31. ISBN 978-0486204253.
  15. ^ Beare, Charles; Chiesa, Carlo; Rosengard, Duane (20 Jan 2001). "Rugeri". Grove Music Online. Retrieved 2018.
  16. ^ https://tarisio.com/cozio-archive/browse-the-archive/makers/maker/?Maker_ID=636
  17. ^ Cozio.com. "Francesco Ruggieri". Archived from the original on 2006-10-26. Retrieved .
  18. ^ Aitchison, Robin; Mnatzaganian, Sarah (2008). "What Is a Full-sized Cello?". Aitchison & Mnatzaganian. Retrieved 2018.
  19. ^ Dilworth, John (16 January 2014). "Francesco Rugeri". Brompton's. Retrieved 2018.
  20. ^ "Violin Makers of the Ruggieri Family". Smithsonian. 1997. Retrieved 2018.
  21. ^ Beare, Charles; Chiesa, Carlo; Rosengard, Duane (20 Jan 2001). "Rugeri". Grove Music Online. Retrieved 2018.
  22. ^ Chiesa, Carlo (Dec 2012). "In the Footsteps of a Master". The Strad: 52.
  23. ^ "Vincezo Rugeri". Cozio.com. Retrieved 2018.
  24. ^ Reuning, Christopher (Oct 2007). "Vincenzo Rugeri". The Strad: 70-71.
  25. ^ "Carlo Bergonzi". Tarisio. Retrieved 2018.

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