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Isabella Di Resta

(b San Miniato al Monte, Florence, April 21, 1772; d Naples, March 9, 1850).

Italian architect, stage designer and writer. He grew up in the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, where his father, who worked as a prison guard, was interested in architecture and encouraged his son when, at the age of 14, he began to make drawings of buildings in Florence and to study the treatises of Vitruvius, Alberti and Palladio. He painted frescoes of architectural views in the workshop of the painter Pasquale Cioffi and was introduced to the art of theatrical design by Francesco Fontanesi (1751–95). Niccolini was greatly drawn to the culture and art of central Europe and was undoubtedly influenced also by the circle of the dramatist Vittorio Alfieri who had founded an academic theatre in the Palazzo d’Albany, Florence, for which Niccolini painted the scenery. He was also engaged in restoring and designing sets for a number of other Tuscan theatres, and his reputation for this work soon spread outside the Grand Duchy. In ...

Article

Richard Bösel

(b Trento, Nov 30, 1642; d Vienna, Aug 31, 1709).

Italian painter, architect and stage designer. He was a brilliant quadratura painter, whose most celebrated works, such as the decoration of the church of S Ignazio in Rome, unite painting, architecture and sculpture in effects of overwhelming illusionism and are among the high-points of Baroque church art. He was a Jesuit lay brother and produced his most significant work for the Society of Jesus. This affiliation was fundamental to his conception of art and to his heightened awareness of the artist’s role as instrumental in proclaiming the faith and stimulating religious fervour. The methods he used were those of Counter-Reformation rhetoric, as represented in Ignatius Loyola’s Spirited Exercises (1548). His architectural works are eclectic, and his unconventional combination of varied sources led to bold experiments with both space and structure. His ideas were spread by his highly successful two-volume treatise, Perspectiva pictorum et architectorum (1693–1700).

He received his first artistic training in Trento, with a painter who appears to have worked in the studio of Palma Giovane. He then studied with an unidentifiable pupil of, among others, Andrea Sacchi, who would have been the first to instruct Pozzo in the art of the Roman High Baroque, and he followed this painter to Como and Milan. In Milan Pozzo joined the Society of Jesus on ...

Article

Rand Carter

(b Neuruppin, Mark Brandenburg, March 13, 1781; d Berlin, Oct 9, 1841).

German architect, painter and stage designer. He was the greatest architect in 19th-century Germany, and his most important surviving buildings in Berlin (see Berlin, §I, 3) and Potsdam (see Potsdam, §1) show his sense of German idealism and technical mastery. He became Geheimer Oberlandesbaudirektor of the Prussian state and influenced many architects in Germany and abroad.

Schinkel’s father, a Lutheran pastor, died after attempting to save victims of a fire in 1787 that destroyed most of Neuruppin, a town 27 km north-west of Berlin. Much of Schinkel’s boyhood was spent in a town under reconstruction, a model of royal benevolence and rational planning. In 1794 his mother and her six children moved to Berlin to a home for the widows of Lutheran pastors. At the 1797 Akademie der Künste exhibition in Berlin the 16-year-old Schinkel was so fascinated by a project for a monument to Frederick II of Prussia...