Images of the commedia dell'arte

Katritzky, M. A. (2014). Images of the commedia dell'arte. In: Chaffee, Judith and Crick, Olly eds. The Routledge Companion to Commedia dell'Arte. Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 284–299.



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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