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Early Modern Stage Sets

Italian
Street Scene for Theatrical Set
engraving on paper
11 1/16 in x 16 7/16 in (28.1 cm x 41.75 cm);18 in x 22 in (45.72 cm x 55.88 cm)
Museum purchase for the Paul Leroy Grigaut Memorial Collection
Francesco Galli Bibiena
Stage Set: A Street Bordered by Palaces
pen and brown ink with ink wash
10 11/16 in. x 16 3/4 in. ( 27.2 cm x 42.6 cm )
Museum Purchase
Luigi Canonica
Scenographic Design
pen and brown ink with brown wash and blue watercolor
12 5/16 in. x 9 1/8 in. ( 31.3 cm x 23.2 cm )
Purchased from the Estate of Edward Sonnenschein
Luigi Canonica
Scenographic Design
pen and brown ink with brown wash and green watercolor
12 1/4 in. x 9 1/4 in. ( 31.1 cm x 23.5 cm )
Purchased from the Estate of Edward Sonnenschein
An intricate series of arches, stairs, and balustrades are presented obliquely.  The deepest recession into space is at the center of the design.  Seen from a low vantage point, the soaring columns and arcades create the illusion of deep space.
Giuseppe Galli Bibiena
Stage Set: Courtyards with Staircases
ink and wash
6 7/8 in. x 9 1/8 in. ( 17.5 cm x 23.2 cm )
Museum Purchase
Giuseppe Valeriani
Stage Set: A Palace Hall with a Doorway
pen and brown ink with ink wash on paper
13 15/16 in. x 13 7/16 in. ( 35.4 cm x 34.2 cm )
Museum Purchase
Lorenzo Quaglio, The Elder
Stage Design: A Garden Setting
pen and gray ink with watercolor on paper
19 in. x 34 5/8 in. ( 48.3 cm x 88 cm )
Museum Purchase
Italian
Stage Design: A Loggia Near a Fortress
pen and brown and black inks with gray ink wash on paper
9 13/16 in. x 14 1/2 in. ( 24.9 cm x 36.8 cm )
Museum Purchase

Stage set design amplified and idealized the early modern obsession with classical design, creating dramatic settings for 16th and 17th century performances of classical or classically-inspired stories. Early modern set designers, like the ones showcased in this collection, were interested in creating spaces which would give great visual depth to each scene and frame dramatic action with impressive, almost otherworldly grandeur.

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Last Updated

January 17, 2019 10:22 a.m.

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