Capturing eyes and moving souls: Peruzzi’s perspective set for La Calandria and the performative agency of architectural bodies, by Mari Yoko Hara

October 26, 2016



The painter-architect Baldassarre Peruzzi (1481–1536) is often credited with the invention of the canonical perspective stage set, yet very little is known about his first prospettiva – the theatre structure mounted inside the Vatican’s apostolic palace for the vernacular comedy La Calandria in 1515. With extensive new archival research, this article reconstructs the landmark structure as accurately as possible and asks what made Peruzzi’s theatre architecture particularly compelling to later sixteenth-century critics like Paolo Giovio, Sebastiano Serlio and Giorgio Vasari. Through a comparative analysis of the set and the play-text by Cardinal Bernardo Dovizi da Bibbiena, what emerges are mirroring strategies of audience address with roots in classical rhetoric. The later half of the article considers the legacy of Peruzzi’s scenography in Cinquecento architectural thinking, drawing particular attention to the notion of performative agency that legitimized an analogy between building and language.

Type Journal Article
Author Mari Yoko Hara
Pages n/a–n/a
Publication Renaissance Studies
ISSN 1477-4658
Date 2016
DOI 10.1111/rest.12249