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Maker(s):Bibiena family member, attributed to; Bibiena family member, attributed to
Culture:Italian, Genoese
Title:Stage Design
Date Made:17th-18th century
Materials:Black chalk
Place Made:Europe
Measurements:Sheet: 18 3/8 in x 10 5/8 in; 46.7 cm x 27 cm
Accession Number:  MH 1999.16.7
Credit Line:Purchase with the Belle and Hy Baier Art Acquisition Fund and Nancy Eisner Zankel (Class of 1956) Art Acquisition Fund
Museum Collection:  Mount Holyoke College Art Museum

Label Text:
Over the course of three generations, the Bibiena family played a pivotal role in the development of theatre design in the 17th and 18th centuries. It is difficult to distinguish among their styles since the work of all eight members of the family is so similar. Their designs were created for the secular stage, the sacred theatre, and the and glorification of deceased princes and patrons.
As in Roman antiquity, Baroque set design favored the expression of architecture and related ornamentation. Perspectival illusions played a significant role in Baroque architecture, and in this drawing the viewer’s eye is manipulated through the use of straight and curved lines, leading them to the center of the composition. The play of light and dark through the use of shadows adds to the perspective that carries the viewer’s eye into the infinite horizon. The backdrop of the set unfolds in the shape of a V, as if driven towards the audience at an angle of forty-five degrees. Ornamental statues diverge to lead to a single central point of the drawing creating a sense of infinity. Heavily decorated columns, large entablatures and the ceilings are a few examples of the intricate details of the backdrop. Structure and ornamentation have been given equal amount of thought.

(A.K.B. 2007)

theater; columns; architecture; statues

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