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    Italian Renaissance Essay Thesis

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    The Renaissance in Italy (and Europe)
    Socio-Political Shifts
    • More centralized power
    • Rise of merchant class
    • Cultural / Artistic / Literary Developments
    • Humanism
    • More secular influence in the visual arts
    • New techniques and materials: oil paints; perspective
    • Printing Press
    • Science / Technology
    • Earth revolves around sun (controversy!)
    • Telescopes
    • Exploration and Colonization
    Types of Performance
    Drama: Comedy and Tragedy
    • Intermezzi
    • Pastorals
    • Opera
    • Commedia dell’arte (we’ll come back to this one!)
    Changes in Architecture, Design, &
    Proscenium Arch
    • Audience Seating
    • Opera Houses: Pit, Boxes Galleries
    • Perspective
    • Sebastiano Serlio (1475-1554)
    • Three basic settings
    • Angled wings
    • + backdrop or shutters
    • Raked stage
    Design and Technology
    Changing Scenery
    • Periaktoi
    • Nicola Sabbattini
    • Shift to flat wings
    • Groove System
    • Giacomo Torelli:
    • Pole-and-Chariot
    • Special Effects
    • Lighting
    Dramatic Criticism
    Neoclassical Ideals
    • Goals of Drama:
    • “to teach, move, and
    delight” (Scaliger)
    • to “please the
    ignorant multitude”
    • Verisimilitude
    • Reality
    • Morality
    • Universality
    • Decorum
    • Unities
    • Time
    • Place
    • Action
    • Genre Rules
    Commedia dell’arte = “play of professional artists”
    • As opposed to commedia erudita (learned comedy)
    • Beginnings – mid 16th Century
    • Influences / Origins: Atellan Farce? Byzantine Mimes? Italian Farce?
    Improv on written comedies?
    • Popular Performance
    • By 1600, popular across Europe
    • Traveling Troupes of 10-12 players
    • Variety of playing spaces – large rooms, outdoor stages, indoor court
    stages . . .
    • Key elements:
    • Improvisation
    • Stock Characters
    Masks (and masks)
    • Props
    • Scenarios
    • Improvisation in Practice
    • Actors stick to a type
    • Companies play together long-term
    • Set bits / repertoire for each Mask
    • Burle (character interactions)
    • Battute (dialogue / repartee
    between characters)
    • Concetti (stock speeches)
    • Lazzi (physical comedy bits)
    Innamorati (Lovers)
    Usually 4 per scenario (2 pairs)
    • Essential to the plot (although kind of at the
    mercy of it)
    • Language: Tuscan; flowery, musical, softspoken
    • Unmasked (heavy makeup)
    • Fashionable costumes
    • Props: Handkerchief, posy, fan (for women)
    • Stance / Movement: “lack full contact with the
    earth”; feet = ballet positions; they “teeter”;
    exaggerated parody of upper-class movement
    Servant roles
    • Their (often unsuccessful) plots keep the action
    • Language: Bergamese dialect
    • Mask
    • Costume: baggy white clothes
    • Stance / Movement: Low center of gravity; “arched back, knees
    bent and apart and his feet splayed . . .”; movements are
    exaggerated and the head and body work independently
    • Other Characteristics: ALWAYS hungry. Ignorant. Emotional.
    • Female zanni: higher status, unmasked, rational; Tuscan dialect
    Becomes more prominent over time
    • Mask: small eyes, wart on forehead
    • Costume:
    • black wrap around the face / over his head
    • Patchwork pattern on long jacket and trousers.
    Belt. Flat black shoes.
    • Props: slapstick
    • Stance / Movement: mix of low and raised; more
    “balletic” version of general Zanni walks; mask
    leads, body follows; very physically quick
    • Extreme – emotions, ideas, movements, etc.
    Schemer (gets better at it over time)
    • Mask: white face
    • Costume: baggy, white, pointed
    white hat
    • Stance / Movement: minimal
    knee movement; elbows bent /
    hands up; moves in straight lines
    • Other characteristics: always
    tired / falling asleep; honest and
    The Old Men
    • Il Dottore
    • Parody of a scholar; large; often a father;
    speaks a mix of Bolognese, Italian, and
    Latin; tends to monologue
    • Mask: nose and forehead; Cheeks
    sometimes painted red
    • Costume: black academic robes
    • Props: White handkerchief
    • Pantalone:
    • Venetian; highest status; father; miser.
    Obstacle to the lovers. Greedy and
    • Mask: long, hooked nose; bushy
    eyebrows; pointed beard
    • Costume: tight pants, short jacket,
    skullcap (red); black cloak; yellow slippers
    • Props: Chain and medallion; dagger
    • Poking fun at soldiers / military (especially Spanish)
    • “self-appointed” / imposter
    • Miles Gloriosus rides again!
    • Language: Neapolitan or Calebrese
    • Mask: phallic nose
    • Costume: changes over time to make fun of current military dress
    • Props: long sword…
    • Stance / Movement: takes up as much space as possible – feet
    spread, chest out; walk – step off on ball of foot, land heels first
    OR toes down first — back straight, long strides; big, extravagant
    • Special subtype: Il Cavaliere
    • Unmasked, real soldier, wannabe lothario

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