The history of Mantua is illustrious, with Balestrieri just one of many classical makers to perfect their craft in the city. After Camillo Camillis death in 1754, Balestrieri appeared on the scene, registering as a violin maker in 1758.
His early work bears the hallmark of the traditional Mantuan maker, with particular features reminiscent of Guarneri and Nicolo Amati.
Balestrieri’s style evolved from Amati-esque delicate features, towards a much more muscular and robust design. This transformation reflects the rugged and powerful appearance of other makers of this period, such as Storioni and Guadagnini.
Stradivari was another to have an influence on Balestrieri’s violinmaking, with the form becoming squarer with strong outlines, fully rounded arching’s and slender F’s suggestive to late Stradivari work.
The materials Balestrieri used have indicated he focused on performance over appearance. His instruments are frequently characterised as strong, powerful concert instruments due to their full sound and commanding appearance. Although not the most refined of violins, they rival the finest instruments in terms of performance and are highly sought-after by soloists.
From the delicacy of Amati and Camilli to the ruggedly built and robust models, Balestrieri is one of the most important post-Stradivarian makers.