NOTES ON LIGHTING IN THE TEATRO ALLA SCALA OF MILAN (1778-1821). In the second half of 18th century, the production and use of artificial light was considered by both the public and the specialists to be an essential component of the design of a modern theatre and closely related to decoration, safety, and comfort. Light is not just a functional element, but it becomes a flexible tool of the scenographic illusion, scenic representation technique, and the construction and decoration of the space. This paper focuses on the lighting systems used in Teatro alla Scala in Milan from 1778, when it opened, through its subsequent transformations during the first four decades of activity. Giuseppe Piermarini was charged for the new theatre project but forced to take into account advice, opinions, and requests from different people. Their point of view about the impact of the lighting system can be interpreted as a more general document of culture because it represents the conflicts in mentality, customs, values, and taste that characterize contemporary society. So architecture that Milizia called "the most social of arts" is challenged to merge various fields of knowledge and practices and update itself through technical literature end direct experiences. The use of chandeliers in the Milanese theatre appears to be a simple translation of the habits widespread in the residences and hence adopted in the public representative spaces. The use of lights both in the hall and on stage is associated with the contemporary debate on the arrangement of sources in relation to the visibility of the representation and about the safest typology. It seems clear that the introduction of argand lights and of reverberations avoids the contact of the flame with combustible materials, reducing the risk of fire. But even more attractive seems to be the possibility of grading the intensity of the light source and directing its beam. However, the argand chandelier - the so-called "lumiera" - designed in 1821 by Alessandro Sanquirico does not seem to be an appropriate solution. Many people criticized it. Among them, Giuseppe Pollack - architect and son of the more famous Leopold - also expressed a negative opinion. He was convinced that the "lumiera" altered the perception of colors and had a dazzling effect on the spectators.

L’illuminazione nel teatro alla Scala di Milano (1778-1820)

Maria Enrica Marica Forni
2021

Abstract

NOTES ON LIGHTING IN THE TEATRO ALLA SCALA OF MILAN (1778-1821). In the second half of 18th century, the production and use of artificial light was considered by both the public and the specialists to be an essential component of the design of a modern theatre and closely related to decoration, safety, and comfort. Light is not just a functional element, but it becomes a flexible tool of the scenographic illusion, scenic representation technique, and the construction and decoration of the space. This paper focuses on the lighting systems used in Teatro alla Scala in Milan from 1778, when it opened, through its subsequent transformations during the first four decades of activity. Giuseppe Piermarini was charged for the new theatre project but forced to take into account advice, opinions, and requests from different people. Their point of view about the impact of the lighting system can be interpreted as a more general document of culture because it represents the conflicts in mentality, customs, values, and taste that characterize contemporary society. So architecture that Milizia called "the most social of arts" is challenged to merge various fields of knowledge and practices and update itself through technical literature end direct experiences. The use of chandeliers in the Milanese theatre appears to be a simple translation of the habits widespread in the residences and hence adopted in the public representative spaces. The use of lights both in the hall and on stage is associated with the contemporary debate on the arrangement of sources in relation to the visibility of the representation and about the safest typology. It seems clear that the introduction of argand lights and of reverberations avoids the contact of the flame with combustible materials, reducing the risk of fire. But even more attractive seems to be the possibility of grading the intensity of the light source and directing its beam. However, the argand chandelier - the so-called "lumiera" - designed in 1821 by Alessandro Sanquirico does not seem to be an appropriate solution. Many people criticized it. Among them, Giuseppe Pollack - architect and son of the more famous Leopold - also expressed a negative opinion. He was convinced that the "lumiera" altered the perception of colors and had a dazzling effect on the spectators.
Luce artificiale e vita collettiva. Pratiche di illuminazione nell’Italia del nord tra Settecento e Ottocento
978-88-57573-55-7
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11311/1150117
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