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    Thursday
    Jul282011

    Varnish on Zanetto da Montichiari 1576

    For several years I have been following the Borromeo Quartet and loved the Yeesun Kim's sound.  Her cello, a Zanetto da Montichiari made in 1576 beautifully blends singing quality of the high strings with a profound and resonant G and C.  

    Yeesun Kim is a wonderful musician and she can make any cello sound strong and powerful.  Yet, there is something special about her Zanetto, something that is almost mysterious.  Sometime power of the lower register is associated with large broad instruments, such as the Montagnana or Teccler makers, on the contrary this Zanetto is quite small. Fortunately the changes and repairs performed over time have not affected the sound, while preserving an elegant outline.  At first sight this cello looks slender, beautifully proportioned with large, somewhat primitive f-holes that remind the early style of Andrea Amati.

    Lately I have been working on a replica of it and I am now applying the final coats of varnish.  The original sports a code of arms with two dragons painted on the lower region of the back.  After much thinking, I decided to take on the challenge of reproducing it.  I have made Amati replicas in the past and my concern when painting on instruments is that adding a decoration would take away from the elegance of the instrument, its lines and proportions.  The trick one has to pull is to make the painting belong to the instrument.

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