Out now!

Jan Lazardzig / Hole Rößler (eds.), Technologies of Theatre. Joseph Furttenbach and the Transfer of Mechanical Knowledge in Early Modern Theatre Cultures, Frankfurt am Main: Klostermann, 2016.

cover_technologies_of_theater_newBaroque theatre spectacles are frequently celebrated for their overwhelming effects and marvelous technologies. However, little is known about how the mechanical knowledge for elaborate stage machineries was actually acquired by architects and engineers, and how it disseminated throughout European theatre cultures with regard to specific religious, social, political as well as economical contexts. So far unnoticed by historians of theatre and performance, the early seventeenth-century codex iconographicus 401 (Bavarian State Library) offers new insight to the transfer of mechanical knowledge and theater technology. This manuscript can now be attributed to Joseph Furttenbach (1591-1667), building master of the Swabian city of Ulm, today best known for his numerous publications on architectural theory. The codex incorporates technical drawings and descriptions of the theatrical machineries invented and designed by Giulio Parigi for the epoch-making festivals at the Medici court in Florence. The invention and construction of theatrical machineries was taught at Parigi’s Florentine academy of art and engineering, which Furttenbach attended. Besides an English translation of Furttenbach’s manuscript (originally written in German language), this volume collects studies at the intersection of theater, architecture, and technology, proposing an innovative approach to the historiography of early modern theater.

Workshop „Traveling Engineers and Architects – Knowledge Transfer in Early Modern Theater Cultures” Duke August-Library, Wolfenbuttel 7th & 8th February 2017

This two-day workshop sets out to discuss traveling as a means of knowledge transfer in early modern theater cultures. Traveling or peregrination is one of the foremost activities when it comes to the acquisition and dissemination of technical knowledge from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century. Architects and engineers from all over Europe travelled to Italy to study present-day technologies (in academies and guilds) as well as (ancient) model architectures. The transfer of drawings, models, prints, books and ideas to Northern Europe often followed well-established networks defined by trade, diplomacy and kinship. Furthermore, travelling formed an integral part of the social and epistemic practices of architects and engineers. It provided the means to compare and evaluate cultural specificities in style, form and function and it helped to establish new networks for the circulation of knowledge.

This by-invitation-only workshop is part of the internationalization project “Technologies of Spectacle” funded by the Dutch Research Organisation (NWO) and based at the University of Amsterdam (UvA). The workshop shall be conducted in a free-discussion format. Selected readings will be distributed among the participants ahead of the workshop.


»               Dr. Jan Lazardzig (ToS Member,  University of Amsterdam)

»               Dr. Hole Rößler (ToS Member, Herzog August Library Wolfenbüttel)


»               Prof. Dr. Stefan Hulfeld (ToS Member, University of Vienna)

»               Dr. M. A. Katritzky (Open University Milton Keynes)

»               Prof. Dr. Sara Mamone (ToS Member, University of Florence)

»               Prof. Dr. Stefano Mazzoni (University of Florence)

»               Prof. Dr. Caterina Pagnini (University of Florence)

»               Prof. Dr. Kati Röttger (University of Amsterdam)

»               Prof. Dr. Anna Maria Testaverde (University of Bergamo)