Architecture, Theater, and Fantasy

Bibiena Drawings from the Jules Fisher Collection

Arnold Aronson, Diane Kelder, John Marciari, Laurel Peterson

Examines a group of Bibiena drawings from the collection of Jules Fisher.
Publication date:
May 2021
Publisher :
Morgan Library
Illustration :
Format Available     Quantity Price
ISBN : 9781913645045

Dimensions : 210 X 210 mm
Available in 6-8 weeks


For nearly a century, members of three generations of the Bibiena family were the most highly sought theater designers in Europe. Their elaborate stage designs were used for operas, festivals, and courtly performances across Europe: from their native Italy to cites as far afi eld as Vienna, Prague, Stockholm, St. Petersburg, and Lisbon. Beyond these performances, the distinctive Bibiena style survives through their remarkable drawings.

Architecture, Theater, and Fantasy marks the promised gift to the Morgan Library& Museum of a group of Bibiena drawings from the collection of Jules Fisher, the Tony Award-winning lighting designer, and commemorates an exhibition of these works, the first in the United States in over thirty years to celebrate these talented draftsmen. These drawings demonstrate the range of the Bibienas' output, from energetic sketches to highly finished watercolors. With representations of imagined palace interiors and lavish illusionistic architecture, this group of drawings highlights the visual splendor of the Baroque stage.

The catalogue opens with Diane Kelder's introductory essay about the Bibiena family. Laurel Peterson then discusses the Bibienas as draftsmen, underscoring the drawings from the Fisher collection. Arnold Aronson, in turn, explores the family's contribution to the theater, setting them within a history of European stage design and explaining the significance of the dynamic angled perspective of their scena per angolo sets. John Marciari's essay considers the Fisher gift among the many Bibiena drawings already at the Morgan, mainly from the Oenslager collection, and looks at the collecting of Bibiena drawings more generally. Finally, Diane Kelder's checklist off ers information regarding the attribution and provenance of the works in the exhibition.


...provides an immersive survey of this era through one of its chief protagonists, the prodigious Bibiena family.
The Architect's Newspaper

...a small but exquisite show of drawings by the Bibiena family, which transformed theatrical design in the 17th and 18th centuries.
The New York Times