The “devil” called Nicola Paganini

The violin virtuoso was described as the “servant” of the devil. He remained unburied for months because they thought he had sold his soul to the devil. Nicolo Paganini is considered the best virtuoso in violin of all time. They have been characterized as a “musical god” but also a “devil” of the devil. The identification of virtuoso music with the dark forces of evil derives largely from his sick and bitter appearance, but also from rumors that allude to “selling” the devil’s soul to become a great musician and name his to remain known for centuries.

He was born in Genoa, Italy, the son of harbor worker Antonio Paganini and Teresa Bocardo. At the age of 5, he received his first music lessons from his father, who as an amateur musician taught him the mandolin and violin. His teacher was Giovanni Cervetto (or Servetto), while he later attended violin lessons by Giacomo Costa. He was a great talent that made him surpass them too soon. Together with his father he moved to Parma to search for further guidance from the great violinist Alessandro Rola. His compositions contain mainly violin and orchestra and chamber music works. Among them are twenty-four Capricio’s. During his life, Paganini was praised and reviled for his eccentric character. His extraordinary violin skills and impressive techniques took on mythological proportions. From 1810 to 1828 he toured widely in European cities, becoming one of the first musicians to dare this.


The violinist with the game known as “diabolical” in 1801, at the age of 18, became the first violin in the Republic of Lucca, a town near Tuscany. Soon, he abandoned his father and began living a life full of many women and gambling. To repay his debts by gambling he pledged his violin. Then, a trader loaned a “Guarneri” to play in a concert. But as soon as she heard him play, she forgave this precious instrument. One legend says his game had devilish powers. Many began to believe and spread the word that Paganini had sold his soul to the devil to have these unrealistic abilities.


He was suffering from diseases from a young age. He suffered from Marfan syndrome. In early 1822, he was diagnosed with syphilis and in 1834 in Paris, he was infected with tuberculosis. The frightened look of the estranged musician, with puffy eyes and pale skin, combined with warped fingers, strengthened the superstition of the devilish being. Shortly before he died of syphilis in Nice, the Bishop of Nice sent a local priest to Paganini to perform the last rites. He himself, assuming the mystery was premature, began following the priest in the prayer process. A week later, on May 27, 1840, he died of internal bleeding.






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