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Collection Details
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Separated Materials
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms
  • Key to Entries

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Italian theater prints
    Date (inclusive): circa 1550-1983
    Collection number: P980004
    Extent: 21 boxes, 40 flat file folders ca. 677 items (623 prints, 13 drawings, 23 broadsides, 16 cutouts, 1 pamphlet, 1 score)
    Repository: Getty Research Institute
    Research Library
    Special Collections and Visual Resources
    1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
    Los Angeles, CA 90049-1688.
    Abstract: The Italian theater prints collection documents the development of stage design, or scenography, the architecture of theaters, and the iconography of commedia dell’arte characters and masks.
    Request Materials: To access physical materials on site, go to the library catalog record  for this collection and click "Request an Item." Click here for access policy .
    Language: Collection material in Italian

    Administrative Information


    Open for use by qualified researchers.

    Publication Rights

    Preferred Citation

    Italian theater prints, ca. 1550-1983, Getty Research Institute, Research Library, Accession no. P980004.

    Acquisition Information

    Acquired in 1998.

    Processing History

    The Italian theater prints collection was first processed in 1998 by Rose Lachman. Karen Meyer-Roux completed the processing of the collection and wrote the present finding aid in 2004.

    Separated Materials

    All of the approximately 4380 secondary sources from the Italian theater collection were separated to the library. In addition, ca. 1500 rare books, some of which are illustrated with prints, have also been separately housed, processed and cataloged. A search using the term "Italian Theater Collection" while selecting the index "Provenance" from the pull-down menu in the Research Library catalog will retrieve a list of these separated materials, in addition to the Italian theater prints collection-level record and the full records for a number of suites of prints, described more briefly in this finding aid. A search in the Builder Search pull down menu using the term "Italian Theater Collection" while selecting the index "Provenance" and using the term "Prints collection" while selecting the index "Title" will retrieve the suites of prints inventoried in this finding aid that are described more fully in individual records.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The Italian theater prints collection forms part of the Italian theater collection, acquired in 1998. It documents the development of stage design, or scenography, the architecture of theaters, and the iconography of commedia dell'arte characters and masks.

    The collection is comprised of prints and several drawings of sets and architectural plans by Italian Renaissance and Baroque scenographers, such as Bernardo Buontalenti, Giulio Parigi, Giacomo Torelli, Ferdinando Tacca, and members of the Bibiena family. The collection also focuses on a specific theatrical genre: the commedia dell'arte. Commedia dell'arte characters and masks, performances, and roles played by well-known actors are represented. Included are etchings of commedia dell'arte characters by prominent printmakers Jacques Callot, Henri and Nicolas Bonnart, and Charles-Nicolas Cochin. Reproductive prints illustrate the reception of the œuvre of Claude Gillot, Antoine Watteau, and François de Troy. Printed ephemera also shed light on the variety of uses of commedia dell'arte imagery, and its social and historical context.


    Indexing Terms

    Subjects: Actors

    Andreini, Francesco, ca. 1548-1624
    Constantini, Angelo, d. 1729 or 30
    Grimaldi, J. S. (Joseph S.), d. 1863
    Poisson Raymond, d. 1690
    Ristori, Adelaide, 1822-1906
    Romagnesi, Marc'Antonio
    Toscano, Angelica

    Subjects: Theaters

    Comédie-Italienne (Paris, France)
    Teatro della Pergola
    Teatro Farnese (Parma, Italy)
    Teatro mediceo degli Uffizi (Florence, Italy)
    Teatro regio (Parma, Italy)
    Théâtre-Italien (Paris, France)


    Ballet—Stage-setting and scenery
    Commedia dell'arte
    Improvisation (Acting)
    Opera—Stage-setting and scenery
    Opera—17th century
    Opera—18th century
    Stage machinery
    Theaters—Stage-setting and scenery
    Theater—History—16th century
    Theater—History—17th century
    Theater—History—18th century
    Theaters—Designs and plans

    Genres and Forms of Materials

    Broadsides—Italy—19th century
    Cutouts—Germany—18th century
    Cutouts—Germany—20th century
    Drawings—Italy—19th century
    Playbills—Europe—19th century
    Prints—France—17th century
    Prints—France—18th century
    Prints—Italy—16th century
    Prints—Italy—17th century
    Prints—Italy—18th century
    Prints—Italy—19th century

    Contributors: Printmakers, Publishers

    Bonnart, Henri, 1642-1711
    Bonnart, Nicolas, 1637-1718
    Callot, Jacques, 1592-1635
    Carducci, Alessandro
    Carracci, Agostino, 1557-1602
    Carter, Frederic, 1885-1967
    Cochin, Charles Nicolas, 1688-1754
    Della Bella, Stefano, 1610-1664
    Huquier, Gabriel, 1695-1772
    Jollain, François, 1641-1704
    Schenck, Peter, 1660-1718 or 9
    Spada, Valerio, 1613-1688
    Trouvain, Antoine, 1656-1708

    Contributors: Designers, Draftsmen

    Bibiena, Ferdinando Galli, 1657-1743
    Buontalenti, Bernardo, 1536-1608
    Chiavistelli, Jacopo, 1621-1698
    Dal Re, Marc'Antonio, 1697-1766
    Ferretti, Giovanni Domenico, 1692-1768
    Galli Bibiena, Giuseppe, 1696-1757
    Galliari, Gaspare, 1761-1823
    Gillot, Claude, 1673-1722
    Magnani, Girolamo, 1815-1889
    Parigi, Alfonso, d. 1656
    Parigi, Giulio, 1571-1635
    Pasetti, Carlo, fl. 1639-1695
    Reiniger, Lotte
    Tacca, Ferdinando, 1619-1686
    Torelli, Giacomo, 1608-1678
    Troy, François, 1645-1730
    Vredeman de Vries, Hans, 1527-ca. 1604
    Watteau, Antoine, 1684-1721
    Xavery, Gerard Jozeph

    Key to Entries

    Abbreviations include: s.l. = sine loco, s.n. = sine nomine, s.d. = sine datum, Im. = image, Pl. = plate mark, Sh. = sheet, Mt. = mount.
    Measurements are in centimeters. For suites of prints, only one, usually the title leaf or the first print, has been measured.
    Frequently quoted reference sources include the following:
    • Bartsch = Bartsch, Adam von, Le peintre graveur (Vienne : J. V. Degen, 1803-1821)
    • Duchartre = Duchartre, Pierre-Louis, La comédie italienne (Paris : Librairie de France, 1925)
    • Guardenti = Guardenti, Renzo, Gli Italiani a Parigi : la Comédie Italienne (1660-1697) : storia, pratica scenica, iconografia (Rome : Bulzoni, 1990)
    • Hollstein = Hollstein, F. W. H., et al., Dutch and Flemish etchings, engravings, and woodcuts, ca. 1450-1700 (Amsterdam, M. Hertzberger, 1949- )
    • Lieure = Lieure, Jules, Jacques Callot (New York : Collectors Editions, 1969)
    • Weigert = Inventaire du fonds français: graveurs du XVIIe siècle, par Roger-Armand Weigert et Maxime Préaud (Paris, Bibliothèque nationale, 1939- )