Francesco Rugeri (or: Ruggieri) was born around 1620, but his labelled instruments do not start to appear until 1670. His extraordinary productivity, which all seems to stem from a comparatively short period between 1670 and his death in 1695, provides us with a wealth of finely crafted and beautifully toned instruments. Most likely a pupil of Nicolò Amati, he patterned his work on some of this master’s modifications.
Every aspect of the craftsmanship in his instruments is of the highest quality. They are greatly admired for both their rich, full tone and for the beauty of their appearance. Perhaps the largest impact Rugeri made historically was his experimentation with smaller cello models.
The carefully shaped arching of the Rugeri violin made in c. 1680 is typical of his work and provides a rich, yet sweet and profound tone. The back is made of two pieces of maple known for its brilliant tone quality. The top is made of two matched medium grained pieces of spruce. The instrument bears a remarkably well-preserved coating of light orange-brown varnish, illuminated by a gold-tinted ground.
The other Rugeri violin, made in c. 1675, makes a fine companion piece to the other Rugeri violin described above. The outline is elegantly proportioned with nicely positioned sound holes. The wood is beautiful: a one-piece maple back married to a lovely two-piece spruce top with narrow grain. Although the head is not original, it is appropriate to the period and manner and appears to be from either Amati or Cappa.