Baroque and Rococo

 

Baroque and Rococo Art Map






Pietro Gonzaga


Giuseppe Galli-Bibiena







 

THE AGE OF STAGE DESIGN

Against the theatrical backdrop of the 18th century, a new concept of stage design developed through the collaboration of architects and painters. The Galli-Bibiena family, composed of stage designers, architects, and creators of mechanical installations for pageants, were renowned for their spectacular theatrical effects. One member, Ferdinando, invented the ingenious "oblique view", or perspectival side view, of elaborate architectural scenes, bringing an illusion of real dimensions to the theatre audience. The architect Filippo Juvarra was also a great and innovative designer of Rococo architectural scenery for theatres in Rome, Naples, and Turin. He excelled in producing three-dimensional backdrop scenes, in which the real and the illusionistic blended imperceptibly, combining archaeological elements and sentimental themes. Juvarra displayed the poetic verve and flair of an artist who was well-versed in architectural theory and practice. The Galliari family, founders of the Milanese and Turin schools of stage-design, spanned an era when ingenious and scientifically constructed mechanical devices were discarded in favour of a more tranquil, natural, and mood-evoking ambience. The Galliaris were responsible for creating and popularizing the "picture-scene", with its sweeping watercolour strokes and hazy, atmospheric treatments. Subject matter included pastoral scenes, landscapes with ruins, exotic pavilions, Chinese temples, and ports looking out to stormy seas. While the scenes were recreated with imaginative flair and a taste for the extraordinary, they often lacked historical accuracy in favour of Arcadian beauty. Algarotti and Milizia condemned this superficial attitude to history, and urged a return to the unity of libretto, music, and stage settings. Their disciple, Pietro Gonzaga (1751-1831), founder of the La Scala tradition and master of Italian stage-design in St Petersburg, carried on and reinforced this practice.


 

Pietro Gonzaga

(b Longarone, nr Venice, 25 March 1751; d St Petersburg, 6 Aug 1831).

Italian painter, stage designer and landscape designer, also active in Russia. He studied in Venice (1769–72) under Giuseppe Moretti and Antonio Visentini (1688–1782) and finished his education in Milan (1772–8), studying with the stage designers Bernardino, Fabrizio and Giovanni Antonio Galliari. He was considerably influenced by the works of Canaletto and Piranesi. He made his début as a stage designer in Milan at the Teatro alla Scala in 1779 and designed over 60 productions in Milan, Rome, Genoa and other Italian cities. From 1792 he worked in Russia, where he went on the recommendation of Prince Nikolay Yusupov, who was at that time the chief director of music and pageantry at the court of Catherine II.

 

 


Pietro Gonzaga

An Architectural Fantasy of Magnificent Courtyards and Loggie with a Monumental Staircase, c. 1775

 

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Galli-Bibiena

Italian family of painters, architects and designers. For three generations they were prominent in many Italian cities and throughout the Habsburg empire. The founder of the dynasty was Giovanni Maria Galli-Bibiena (b Bibiena, nr Bologna, 1625; d Bologna, 21 June 1665), who was a pupil and much-prized assistant of Francesco Albani (being, apparently, particularly adept at the depiction of water). He produced faithful copies of his master’s paintings. His surviving independent works include a fine Ascension (1651; Bologna, Certosa) and, in the church of Buon Gesù, Bologna, a frescoed St Bernardino and two sibyls. His daughter Maria Oriana Galli-Bibiena (b Bologna, 1656; d Bologna, 1749) studied with Carlo Cignani and Marcantonio Franceschini and specialized in portraits and history pictures. She married the landscape painter Gioacchino Pizzoli (1661–1773), and their son Domenico Pizzoli (1687–1720) was also a painter. Giovanni Maria had two sons, Ferdinando Galli-Bibiena and Francesco Galli-Bibiena, who trained as painters but became best known for architectural design and the creation of festival decorations. Ferdinando in his turn had several children who were artists: Alessandro Galli-Bibiena (b Parma, 1687; d before 1769), Giovanni Maria Galli-Bibiena ( fl Prague, 1739–69), Giuseppe Galli-Bibiena and Antonio Galli-Bibiena. Alessandro became architect and painter to the Elector Palatine Charles Philip (reg 1716–42) and in 1719 supervised the building of the right wing of the Schloss at Mannheim (destr.). Between 1733 and 1756, under Charles Theodore Wittelsbach, Elector of Bavaria, he designed the Jesuit church in Mannheim. Giovanni Maria worked as a painter and architect until his marriage to a wealthy woman obviated the necessity. Giuseppe was his father’s pupil and assistant at the Habsburg court in Vienna before embarking on an influential career that took him to the main cities of the Habsburg empire. Antonio also worked with his father, in Bologna, and with his uncle Francesco in Rome and his brother Giuseppe in Vienna, before pursuing an independent career as architect, designer and painter. Giovanni Carlo Galli-Bibiena (d Lisbon, 20 Nov 1760), the son of Francesco, was a member of the Accademia Clementina, Bologna. In Bologna he decorated the staircase of Palazzo Savini and the Cappella di S Antonio in S Bartolommeo di Porta Ravegnana. He also produced a scheme for the decoration of the high altar of S Petronio, Bologna, for the Bolognese Pope Benedict XIV. He was then (1752) summoned by Joseph, the King of Portugal, to Lisbon, where he designed an opera house next to and communicating with the royal palace. It was completely destroyed only seven months after completion in the notorious earthquake of 1755. Finally, Carlo Galli-Bibiena, son of Giuseppe, found work throughout Europe as a designer of court and festive decoration and, most notably, as a theatre architect.

 

 
Giuseppe Galli-Bibiena

(b Parma, 5 Jan 1696; d Berlin, 1756).

Son of Ferdinando Galli-Bibiena. He was his father’s pupil and assisted him on various projects at the Habsburg court in Vienna. In 1716 he produced his first independent designs, as part of the festive decoration for the birth of the Archduke Leopold of Austria. For a similar occasion the following year he erected a magnificent triumphal decoration of his own (his father had by then left the imperial service). In 1718 he was given a position at court and was subsequently involved in all the major Habsburg celebratory decorations, including those for the marriage of Emperor Joseph’s daughter in Munich (1722). His lavish designs for open-air operatic performances were much admired. In 1727 he officially became chief theatrical designer to the imperial court. His subsequent employment on less secular schemes, such as his superb triumphal arch for the celebration in Prague of the canonization of St John Nepomuk (1729), may have contributed to the theatrical aspect of much German architecture of the period. During the next decade he was again mainly occupied with decorative settings for operas, funerals and celebrations, the most important of which were those for the marriage of Emperor Charles VI’s daughter Maria Theresa to Francis I, Duke of Lorraine (1736). In 1740 he produced his most lasting work, Architetture e prospettive, a book dedicated (like his father’s) to Charles VI. It consists of engravings of fantastic architectural scenes, which, while showing more Neoclassical rigour in architectural detail than Ferdinando’s, far surpass them in variety of combined perspectives, expertly controlled groupings of space and structure and dazzlingly free evocations of endless vistas. Many of them accurately record the extraordinary temporary decorations he provided for religious festivals in the imperial chapel in the Hofburg, Vienna. His stage setting design of a Monumental Hall Supported by Spiral and Square Pilasters (Cleveland, OH, Mus. A.) exemplifies the style.

 

 


Giuseppe Galli-Bibiena
A Fantastic View of a City

 


Giuseppe Galli-Bibiena
Architectural capriccio
Sketch for a grand hall stage design, pen and ink and watercolour sketch.
Accademia di Belle Arti, Bologna.
 



Giuseppe Galli - Bibiena

Buhnenbildentwurf

1740

 



 

 



 

 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 


Scena della Festa Teatrale in occasione delli sponsali del Principe Reale di Polonia ed Elettorale di Sassonia

 

 



 

 


Scena della Festa Teatrale in occasione delli sponsali del Principe Reale di Polonia ed Elettorale di Sassonia

 

 



 

 

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