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perspective stage (in the picture, Vitruvius' type of tragic scenes)

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(detail)1508 | Opening


(detail)Marcus Vitruvius |architect

Roman author of a treatise in ten books, De Architectura, of which Book V deals with theatre construction, illustrated by diagrams. Discovered in manuscript at St. Gallen in 1414, this was printed in 1484. The first edition with illustrations was published in 1511, and an Italian translation appeared in 1531. This work had a great influence on the building of Renaissance theatres, and from it the new generation of theatre designers took—though not always accurately—the idea of such devices as the periaktoi, and in general the proportions and acoustic properties of the later Hellenistic and Roman theatres. 


IN: Hartnoll, Phyllis, ed. The concise Oxford companion to the theatre. 1st ed. London: Oxford University Press, 1972.   ISBN 0-19-281102-9. p. 581-582 

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The first documented use of perspective on a stage. In accordance with Vitruvius' instructions, there were “stationary” types of perspective stages for tragedy - with a grand royally conceived town full of statues, stairways and palaces, Comedy - with a folk and simple picture of burgher homes, balconies and false windows and satyric - full of wild nature, rocks and village attributes. These prescribed types of scenes were assembled by S. Serlio in the second of the Seven Books on Architecture.



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