Alfredo Del Lungo began studying the art of violin making at the workshop of his father, Giuseppe Del Lungo (1883-1926), while also taking cello lessons at the Conservatorio Cherubini in Florence. In 1933, aged 24, he was appointed official luthier of the Stabile Orchestrale Fiorentina, which soon became the Orchestra del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino. In 1948 he worked at the museum of ancient instruments of the Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Siena, involved in the conservation of its collection. In 1949 he was invited to the Argentine province of Tucumán to take up the position of luthier to the symphony orchestra of the National University. The link with this institution proved fruitful, as in 1950 he was asked to initiate the project for its lutherie school – the first teaching institution of its kind in Latin America.
There followed a brief spell back in Italy, where he was hired by the Luigi Cherubini Museum in Florence, to restore the collection of musical instruments, that had been damaged in the 1966 flood, including the 1690 ‘Medici, Tuscan’ Stradivari viola. As a result, the Italian government appointed him cavaliere of the Order of the Republic of Italy. The press later referred to him as il medico degli Stradivari.
Returning to Tucumán, Del Lungo split his time between new making and restoring instruments. He also taught and ran the violin making school until his retirement in 1986.
FORM AND CONSTRUCTION
Dating from 1972, this violin was built on an internal mould and has been very neatly finished inside and out. Del Lungo almost always used wood of excellent quality, and the and maple used for this violin are no spruce exception. All the blocks and linings are made from poplar.
The arching is broad and ends abruptly at about 2cm from the perimeter in the upper and lower bouts. After that there is a smooth curve leading all the way to the edge. The edges are rounded very neatly.
The f-holes are modelled on those of Stradivari, giving the instrument a touch of elegance and distinction. The lower wings of the f-holes are slightly hollowed.
The purfling is 1.3mm thick, made from ebony and maple. On the back, one-piece purfling was used for the upper and lower bouts. It ends at the corners in rather pronounced bee-stings.
The varnish is an oil-based golden-yellow colour and is very transparent. The ground has been well prepared and shows off the wood grain beautifully.
The scroll has a very harmonious design, boasting gracefully flowing lines leading to the eye. The carving is light and the edges are subtle, defining a clear outline.
LABEL AND BRANDS
The paper label reads ‘Alfredus Del Lungo florentinus fecit Tucumanae Anno D.ni 1972’. Additionally, there are three brands on the wood. Two of these, reading ‘U.N.T. A.Del Lungo-Tucumán’, are on the interior of the instrument: one in the back, very close to the soundpost; the other in the top-block. The third brand is a fleur-de-lis, located on the outside of the neck root.