17 March 2022, 17.00, at the Swedish Institute of Classical Studies in Rome and on Zoom

Adnan Gacanin

The City as Theatre: Images of Architecture on the Italian Renaissance Stage

Tragic Scene, from Sebastiano Serlio’s Second Book, On Perspective

The stage designs of Italian renaissance theatre, for example those in the Teatro Olimpico or in Sebastiano Serlio’s illustrations, contain a specific form of architecture, its elements at the same time familiar and strange in composition and scale. Similar forms fill the backgrounds of paintings both of the same period and in medieval depictions of religious scenes. They also appear in antiquity, in images actually depicting stage performances. The architecture in question, far from being just a decorative element, functions as an anchor that fixes a narrative and makes it a scene. However, it is seldom concerned with realism or placing the scene in a known place, but simply to organize it in a place which is why it often ranges from purely symbolical to idealized forms.

In this project I will study architectural motifs in renaissance theatre, their origins, relationships to image conventions in art and their presence in the city. By collecting visual references from a wide field of sources I hope to define a type and follow its scene-making properties from the theatre out into the city. This seminar will present the early stages of the project. I will give some background on the concept of scene architecture and discuss the definition of the type.

Adnan Gacanin graduated from KTH School of Architecture in 2018 and have since been practising as an architect, currently at a firm called Metropolis Arkitekter in Stockholm. Adnan is the recipient of the Friends of the Swedish Institute’s Sven Axel Söderholm Fellowship in architecture 2021/22

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If you want to follow the seminar via zoom please click here to register!