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This article discusses the working method of Bernardo Buontalenti, the court engineer of the Medici family under Cosimo I and his son Francesco I. Buontalenti is a crucial figure for the history of theatre, because he was able to consolidate and rivitalise a tradition, in so far as he used the pre-existing technical knowledge and, at the same time, reinterpreted it in an original way; moreover he "invented" a new profession. By analysing the Memoriale of Girolamo Seriacopi, Proweditore di Castello, which records the works made in Uffizi theatre for the wedding of Ferdinando I de' Medici and Cristina di Lorena (1589), I trace the dynamics of Buontalenti's building site in order to infer some knowledge about the stage machines from the work practice. This method of analysis enables me to make two hypotheses: on the one hand, Buontalenti's machinery was built according to the rules of Florentine tradition (which was in part different from the one from Pesaro which is the basis of Sabbatini's treaty and is usually considered the primary tool for understanding Buontalenti); on the other hand, the use of craft knowledge begins a specialization process that will develop along the seventeenth century.

Affiliations: 1: Universit Cattolica del Sacro Cuore di Brescia


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