Description

    Large Engraved Architectural Plates

    Giuseppe Galli Bibiena. Architetture, e Prospettive. Dedicate alla Maesta di Carlo Sesto Imperador de' Romani. Augustæ [Augsburg]: Sotto la Direzione di Andreas Pfeffel, 1740[-1744].

    First edition. Large folio. Forty-one (of fifty) engraved architectural and theatrical plates, mostly engraved by Johann Andreas Pfeffel.

    Contemporary full vellum over pasteboard. Scarring and chipping to the binding. Boards bowing. Front hinge broken and an attempt has been made to repair this with brown paper tape. Missing nine of the plates. Rear plate has been re-attached with brown tape. Eight of the plates have shallow closed tears which have been mended with tape, all but one on the verso. Moderate foxing throughout. Overall, a very good coy, with the plates are clean and attractive.

    "The book entitled Architettura e Prospettive contains, on large-format plates, 50 engravings of designs by the Imperial theatre engineer Giuseppe Galli Bibiena [1695-1757]. It was a celebration of the author's own artistic work, and a monument to the short era during which Charles VI (1685-1740, Emperor from 1711) at the court of Vienna used the arts to demonstrate the absolute power of the House of Habsburg. This included festivals and theatre productions for marriages and state celebrations. As such, Giuseppe Galli Bibiena's designs are examples of an 'imperial' style, and furthermore of the artist's highly developed architectural fantasy and decorative art. The publication of Architettura e Prospettive made a major contribution to the modernization of the theatre, establishing the so-called 'scena ad angolo,' curved backdrops, on Europe's states. Giuseppe Galli came from a family including a total of 13 artists. They were active for four generations from the middle of the 17th century as artists and architects in Italy, Austria, Germany, Sweden, and in cities such as Lisbon and St Petersburg...Architetture e Prospettive appeared in 1740-the ear of the Emperor's death-in five parts, each with five plates. The illustrations are not annotated. Apart from the dedication to Charles VI and the preface, the work contains no text whatever. Of the ten parts planned in total, parts six and seven came out in 1744. There is no system to the way the material is divided up, each part containing examples of various building assignments...The range of motifs in the views embraces topics that were of great interest at the end of the Baroque era, for example the fantasy-laden reconstruction of Classical ruins as ell as examples of 'Gothic' architecture. In his designs, the artist made use of various methods to make architecture monumental, working above all with views from below and cropped sections. In many designs he used the scena ad angolo technique and in others (in particular for the depiction of festive decorations for imperial ceremonies) he used a central perspective as a dignified form...In Architettura e Prospettive Giuseppe Galli Bibiena elevated this synthesis of painting, architecture and scenography to a form of art in its own right, which had its greatest effect in the 'staging' of architecture in the service of absolutist power" (Christoph Thoenes and Bernd Evers, Architectural Theory: From the Renaissance to the Present, pages 156-163).

    Berlin Katalog 4152. Brunet I, col. 839. Cicognara 431. Fowler 136.


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    Auction Dates
    February, 2010
    11th-12th Thursday-Friday
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