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Architectural Fantasy with an Equestrian Statue

$ 6,500
  • Description
    Considered one of the most important theater stage designers of the Neoclassical period, Giovanni Perego studied at the Milanese Accadèmia di Brera as a student of Paolo Landriani. In 1807, Perego received his first theatrical commission for work at La Fenice in Venice, and later worked in Brescia. However, it was his work in Milan for the Teatro and Opera della Scala for which Perego became renowned. By 1810, he was listed as one of the principal and permanent staff designers of La Scala, where he produced stylistically experimental stage designs that were increasingly Romantic in nature. During this period, he often worked in collaboration with Alessandro Sanquirico, designing some of the theaters most influential stage sets. Perego also worked as an architect and fresco painter, as seen in his involvement with the building in 1812 of Palazzo Rocca Saporiti in Milan. Stendahl recognized Perego’s skill as a designer, writing in 1816, “On m’a présenté à M. Perego, homme de génie; c’est à lui que l’on doit les décorations du théâtre de la Scala, que j’ai tant admirées” (see N. Bucci, Drawings for the Stage: Italian Set Design from 1790 to 1860, New York, 1984, p. 30). Upon the artist’s premature death in 1817, a monument was erected in his honor in the Accadèmia di Brera’s courtyard.

    Perego’s drawings are characterized by a massing of solid architectural forms, the strong use of line and the atmospheric use of wash. These designs, according to Oenslager, “have a breadth and dignity that evoke a poetic atmosphere reminiscent of William Blake. Perego was blessed with an intuitive sense of theater that made him one with the inner mood contained in the newer drama and opera. His ability to capture and envision this inner mood placed him as a designer ahead of his time” (see D. Oenslager, Four Centuries of Scenic Invention, New York, 1974, p. 108).

    This drawing is typical of Perego's work as a scenic stage designer for the Opera della Scala. Similar to two of the artist's designs that remain in the Museo Teatrale della Scala (nos. 2794 and 2795), this sheet depicts an architectural capriccio combining many historically different styles, all to create a suitably Romantic setting for an early nineteenth century stage production. Many of Perego’s designs for La Scala were engraved by Stanislav Stucchi and published in his circa 1822-30 Raccolta de Scene Teatrali. The majority of Perego’s La Scala drawings is now in the Museo Teatrali alla Scala, Milan and the Museo Coccia, Lugano. An alternate attribution to Luigi Tasca has been suggested.
  • More Information
    Documentation: Documented elsewhere (similar item)
    Notes: The Museo Teatrale della Scala (nos. 2794 and 2795)
    Origin: Italy
    Period: 18th Century
    Materials: Pen and black ink, black and gray wash on white paper; ruled border in black ink
    Condition: Good.
    Creation Date: 1776-1817
    Styles / Movements: Other
    Book References: Literature: R. Gilli, Architettura e Scenografia: Disegni dal XVI al XX secolo, Milan, 1984, no. 79. Clarendon, Flights of Fantasy: An Exhibition of Architectural Capriccios, Imaginary Projects and Stage Designs, London, 1986, pp. 29 and 59
    Catalog References: L’Antiquaire & The Connoisseur, The Aesthetic Pursuit: Form, Figure, Fantasy and the Pastoral Idea, New York, 1998, no 23.
    Incollect Reference #: 305278
  • Dimensions
    W. 9.5 in; H. 7.15 in;
    W. 24.13 cm; H. 18.16 cm;
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