Sabbatini, Nicola

Sabbatini, Nicola

▪ Italian architect
born 1574, Pesaro, Italy
died Dec. 25, 1654, Pesaro

      Italian architect and engineer who pioneered in theatrical perspective techniques. He worked in Pesaro, where he designed the Teatro del Sole, and possibly in Ravenna and Modena.

      In his major and most enduring written work, Pratica di fabricar scene e macchine ne' teatri (1638; “Manual for Constructing Scenes and Machines in the Theatre”), Sabbatini described contemporary theatrical techniques, including those used for stage lighting. He demonstrated, for instance, how a bank of stage lights could be illuminated or dimmed simultaneously and discussed proper light positioning. Among his other devices were the sliding of wings and scenery on grooves in the floor and methods of simulating fire and waves. Although most of the stage machinery described by Sabbatini was probably not of his invention, the Practica remains a comprehensive documentation of practical stagecraft of the Renaissance.

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Universalium. 2010.

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