President's letters

The light hidden under the bushel

President of A.L.I - Anna Lucia Maramotti Politi

Events distract us and force us to forget out true identity far too often. It’s important to underline that among the statutory obligations of A.L.I. there is “the diffusion of the art of violin making and its culture”. In fact, these two aspects are not separated, but they are too converging things that A.L.I. has always managed to reconcile.

As a proof of that, there is the high level of professionality of the members, both skilled violin makers and scholars. In the Group of Professionals we find violin makers that with their fine works represent the art of violin making at an International level. We cannot forget that the founder of A.L.I. is that GioBattaMorassi that with his works deserved the title of “dottore”-the first one in the history of Italian University, that has always trusted the strictly theoretical culture much more, and has always reached technical but never artistic results.

In the university context , the Arts are just studied, but never done. Violin making is in itself an Art. It is Art because every single instrument has its own personal features that identify it, and those features are the signature of the personality who created it. Furthermore, violin making respects two specific terms of Art: the shape and the tone. Therefore, if it needs- as any other form of Art- its own techniques to express the quality of its know-how, on the other hand violin making cannot be defined, because it is Art.

A philosopher of the last century, Benedetto Croce, stated in one of his last works that poetry is Art, while literature responds to grammatical-syntactical rules that form its structure. Referring to manufacture, Roberto Pane distinguished Architecture, Art and Poetry from Building. This distinction repeats itself in violin making too. There are those who make it an Art, and those who make it a technically precise profession, but deprived from that special afflatus that music needs. Well then, the violin makers of A.L.I. has demonstrated what making their profession an Art really means.

Belonging to the Scientific Community of Violin Making are names of as much International importance. It’s not fortuitous that nowadays the Community is working on upgrading the Carta del Restauro (Charta of Restoration) of 1987. To avoid this field to be victim of a mere technicism, which confuses the restyling with a restoration capable of highlight the value of the instrument, it’s fundamental to critically take again what was stated thirty years ago.

Is there any pride in all this? Pride is not suitable for the ones who are on a research process, because they must be always conscious that every step is not an end, because hiding the lamp under the bushel not to see what’s all round might evolve in a dangerous boasted reputation. So everyone must always have the courage to compare themselves with others, not to lose the primacy achieved. In fact we all are “gnomes on the shoulders of the giants”.

I felt today it’s the right time to say all this, today that violin making shows so many different levels, and Art is humiliated by the will of restraining it in burocratic tortuosity, while the great Italian schools that are into A.L.I. know how to compare themselves with the others still preserving their specific diversities, respecting each identity. So, this is exactly the added value of A.L.I. It’s about knowing how to see further than the closet realities, knowing how to compare themselves to others and not “hiding the lamp under the bushel”. It’s about not fearing the present times, and even though “mala temporacurrunt” , it’s about facing it knowing and wanting to know, in order to get ready for everything on time.