Biblioteca Palatina, Parma


MS 3708. The folios are not numbered; my numbers refer to the order in which they are bound

  • 1 sea monster and sea chariot machinery
  • 2 view of stage house
  • 3 flying stairway machinery - raised position
  • 4 cloud display machinery
  • 5 flying performer machinery
  • 6 flying stage floor machinery
  • 7 scene with effect of the flying chair - machinery shown in #5
  • 8 trap and curtain machinery
  • 12 scene with cloud
  • 13 scene with clouds and eagle - machinery shown in #37
  • 14 scene with effect of stairs shown in #3 & #28
  • 15 scene with Mercury flying - machinery shown in #5
  • 16 scene with clouds
  • 17 scene with flying performers - machinery shown in #5
  • 23 scene with fountain rising from trap - machinery shown in #30
  • 25 monument - machinery shown in #30
  • 27 floor plan of theatre
  • 28 flying stairway machinery - lowered position
  • 29 cloud display - machinery shown in #4
  • 30 expanding machine - related to #23, 25, & 39
  • 31 crane machinery -
  • 32 border changing machinery
  • 34 flying chair and tracks machinery - related to #16?
  • 35 wave machines
  • 36 scene with flying performer - machinery shown in #5
  • 37 cloud display machinery & flying eagle - related to #13
  • 38 sea scene - machinery shown in #1 & #35
  • 39 Fountain - machinery shown in #30

MS 3708

This manuscript is listed as "N.39 disegni originali di macchine scene teatrali del secolo XVII. Con poche note in qualche margine del loro autori, ed in parte probabilmente eseguite del teatro farnesiano." However, the floorplan in the manuscript does not correspond to the Teatro Farnese and is shown in Venetian peidi.

At least six of the set drawings have been identified by Cesare Molinari as settings for La Divisione del Mondo produced in 1675 at Teatro Vendramino di San Salvatore.

The manuscript contains drawings in faded ink on tracing paper, which has been mounted on backings and bound. There are pencil notations faded to the point that they are unreadable at the top of some drawings

The drawings as a set illustrate the complete continental scene change and a variety of spectacular effects including sea scenes, flying actors, celestial displays, etc. Many of the machinery drawings can be related to set drawings that show the effects created by the machinery. The most complex machine is reproduced and analyzed in Frank Mohler's "A Brief Shining Moment: An Effect That Disappeared From The Illustionistic Stage."

Many of the drawings have been published in a variety of sources and a microfilm copy of the manuscript is available at The Ohio State University's Lawrence and Lee Theatre Research Institute [McDowell Archive Film 2048.]

the development of scenice spectacle


usittThis material is made possible, in part, by a grant from the New Initiatives Fund, United States Institute for Theatre Technology and by grants from the University Research Council, Cratis D. Williams Graduate School, Appalachian State University.


Dr. Frank Mohler
Department of Theatre & Dance
Appalachian State University
Boone, NC 28608

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