Sabastiano Serlio

Published Sources

Libro d'Architettura, Il Primo (Secondo), Paris 1545. Translation by Allardyce Nicoll is published in The Renaissance Stage (ed. Barnard Hewitt)


  • Show fire by soaking it with aqua vita and lighting it
  • Use of a strip of wood in a groove pulled across the stage to show miniature cutouts of people
  • A cutout of a planet pulled across the background on a wire
  • Thunder created by rolling a ball across the floor above the hall
  • Lightning is created by raising a box of resin which has a candle passing through it
  • Thunderbolt is created by a rocket on a wire

Serlio worked as an architect in Italy and France. It was in France that he wrote Book II of his Architettura which includes a description of a temporary theatre in a noble's great hall. Although he did not use changeable scenery, he did describe the techniques used to create some spectacular effects

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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