Il punto di vista adottato in questo fascicolo monografico è frutto di un approccio di taglio chiasmatico. Si è scelto di provare a osservare una specifica sezione della cultura moderna, il Settecento, con particolare ma non esclusiva attenzione all’Italia, mettendo a fuoco il tema dello spazio e partendo dall’assunzione che i due universi linguistici si vadano in questo secolo costituendo attraverso il consapevole e reciproco rapportarsi dell’uno all’altro. Come dire: il linguaggio artistico – in particolare il rococò – sulla scorta dell’eredità barocca guarda al teatro come modello espressivo e modella i propri spazi secondo dinamiche teatrali e scenografiche, mentre la scena guarda alla pittura per definirsi come tableau. A tale scopo si offrono esempi di lettura di fatti artistici in cui è possibile individuare le tracce di una sensibilità teatrale e fatti teatrali che rimandano alla pittura.
The usual connection of rococò style with the French kingdom was strongly put under debate after the development
of this style in Lombardy, Erblände and Bavaria in the very first years of the XVIIIth century, within
an already accomplished rocaille civilization, which was a main product of lake artists such as Diego Carloni
di Scaria. The civilization that has been sometimes called Barocchetto is in reality a conceptual revolution in
comparison with Baroque, even if it maintains almost all its shapes; it is the civilization of the comfortable,
of the luxurious, of the miniaturized, of the graceful in opposition to the civilization of the grand. Arcadia and
Muratorismo, this period’s two big ideological parameters, are the basis of the idea of art seen as a redemption,
as a retrieval of nature; and in the same time of the idea of religion strict in its ethical contents but tolerant
in its dialogue with the world. The result are environments which thoroughly modify the baroque space:
an abundance of sophisticated but comfortable furniture, and an attempt to recover an unobtrusive dialogue
with nature (the ‘romantic’ garden, already present in the XXVIIIth century). The coincidence of the three periods
of Rococò with the Wars of Successions is impressive: the Spanish one, concerning the Lombard- middle-
European world; the Polish one, under the sign of the French predominance; the Austrian one, characterized
by the coming back of the Lombard-middle-European supremacy, a revival of the roman superiority, and
the refined strategies of Benedict XIV Lambertini, a great ‘muratoriano’.
Nymphenburg castle was born as an Italian style villa, namely a summer residence, after the wish of Princess
Adelaide of Savoy, mother of Maximilian II Emanuel, and it was built by Italian Architects (Antonio Barelli,
Enrico Zuccalli and Antonio Viscardi). Starting from 1715, when Prince Maximilian II Emanuel came back
to Munich from his exile in France, the park next to the castle was enriched with plastic decorations, with the
building of three original castles (Pagodenburg, Badenburg, Amalienburg) and with the Magdalenenklause.
For this reason the garden architect Dominique Girard, disciple of Le Nôtre was called from Paris.
The purpose of this article is to reconstruct the baroque genesis of Nymphenburg gardens and to explain
the theatrical elements in line with the complex court ceremonial of Maximilian II Emanuel, the founder and
true director of the garden decoration. We will see how the Nymphenburg gardens, expression and concrete
realization of the XVII century ‘Bequemlichkeit’, propose a life pattern essentially intended as comfortable
living (large spaces and gardens) and as contact with nature mediate by fantasy (architecture and botanic).
In order to understand the planning criterions on which is based the creation of the theatrical scenery
of Nymphenburg gardens, we will look into the ideology of its inspirer. Prince Maximilian II Emanuel pursued
ambitious political objectives, and he needed to publicly show his expectations of power and glory.
These expectations were expressed through a hyperactivity in the building of castles and suburban villas such
as Schleissheim and Nymphenburg and through the design and preparation of magnificent gardens, in line
with the theatrical and representative rococo spirit.
One of the greatest landscapists of the XVIIIth century, Venetian Bernardo Bellotto, during his continuous
roving among European courts, dedicated a wonderful view to Nymphenburg castle, which shows well
the theatrical use of garden space, where natural elements are artfully arranged for the pleasure of our sight
and for the comfort (‘Bequemlichkeit’) of the court’s life.
The feoffment of Varese to Francesco III of Este, duke of Modena (Modena, 1698 - Varese, 1780), in 1765, by
the Hapsburg government, was caused by the political and diplomatic instances connected with Empress Mary
Theresa of Austria’s aims of imperial hegemony on the Italian peninsula. The feoffment had profound consequences
on the redevelopment of the urban plan of the city and on the creation of new barycentres. Although
the duke’s permanence lasted only about fifteen years and the presence of a princely residence and of a court
(unique in the history of the town), with needs linked to the celebration of the dynastic protocol, was essentially
seasonal, they caused long lasting transformations. They were mainly buildings, having a consequent
impact on the landscape of a traditionally commercial town, which, during the XVIIIth century, was becoming
a privileged place of vacation of a significant part of the patriciate of Milan. The structure of Varese, which
was previously characterized by some reference areas connected with the presence of churches, such as St.
Vittore’s collegiate church and the Sacred Mount, was completely modified by a new dialectic : the relation
between the Este Palace, built in a peripheral area, and the seasonal residences of aristocracy, which was linked
to Francesco III, duke of Modena, who loved the hilly areas around the town, called ‘castellanze’.
The essay describes the relation between space and furnishing through the exemplification of the most suggestive
residencies of the Verri’s family, commissioned by count Gabriel between 1749 and 1768: The living
room painted by the Galliaris at Biassono, The hall painted by Grechetto, and Corneliani’s ‘Grass juice’ paintings
in the palace of Milan. We should add the family’s chapel in the Shrine of Ornago, planned and painted
The Verri family’s characters find their aesthetic expression not only in the paintings on the walls, but
mainly in the choices of furniture, representing their evolution during almost one century.
The idea of a ‘theatre-in-form-of-a-painting’ reveals itself as a useful key of access to the comprehension of
the XVIIIth century theatre and, particularly, of its ways of diffusion and of its capability to penetrate the
imagery of its age. Many iconographic evidences can be considered as reliable documents of a theatre recorded
in the memory of the audience. This essay describes the exchange modalities between the theatrical and
the artistic experiences, and it finds many possibilities of encounter: the memory (more or less direct) of the
shows, the circulation of images with theatrical subjects, the transposition on stage of thematic and atmospheres
inspired to the dramaturgy of the period and – above all – the building of the painting following dramatic
The essay analyses the relation between the angle shot technique conceived by the Bibienas and the squaring
shot technique. Squaring shooting and scenography can be considered ‘similar systems’which make the show
view an analogous experience to that of the architectural view.
The angle scene introduces a fracture in the traditional view of the Italian theatre. It privileges an ‘external
perspective’ changing the ‘viewpoint’ and connecting the real environments to the fictitious ones in a
dynamic, perceptive union.
During the XVIIIth century, the scenic space is defined as a meeting place of the various artistic languages and
seat of the debate on the persuasive and illusory nature of the play. The reflection often takes its origin from
the pictorial metaphor and it has an encyclopaedic and multidisciplinary approach, involving the meeting of
practical and theoretic problems. In an omnicomprehensive viewpoint of the theatrical event, the material and
dramatic components of the representation are subject to a deep review. The renewed theatricality reveals the
symbolic value of the scenic place by pushing it progressively towards the ‘reproduction’ of reality.