Images of the Commedia dell’Arte

Authored by: M. A. Katritzky

The Routledge Companion to Commedia dell’Arte

Print publication date:  December  2014
Online publication date:  November  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415745062
eBook ISBN: 9781315750842
Adobe ISBN: 9781317613374

10.4324/9781315750842.ch30

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Abstract

Images add a rich dimension to theatre historical studies, which have traditionally been dominated by the literary perspective. This is particularly true for the Commedia dell’Arte, whose patchy textual record reflects its reliance on brief scenarios rather than extant play-texts with fully-scripted dialogue. From its sixteenth-century beginnings, the Commedia dell’Arte’s mixed-gender performances, distinctive costumes and gestures, and slick professional acrobatics, comedy and magic routines captured the attention of artists of every stripe. Their depictions range from reliable records of the appearance of staged events and actors, to imaginative evocations unrelated to any specific performance or performer.

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