The Book in the Age of Theatre. 1550-1750

The Book in the Age of Theatre Exhibit

Exhibition curated by Larry Norman, Assistant Professor in the Department of Romance Languages and Literature, and his students.

This exhibition explores the relationship between the printed book and the theater during a key period in their developments in Europe. After the construction of the first permanent theater buildings since Antiquity in mid sixteenth-century Italy, drama triumphed throughout Europe, and in particular in seventeenth-century France, in Golden Age Spain, and in Elizabethan, Jacobean and Restoration England. How did the growth of the book industry interact with the evolution of the theater? The dynamic between the two realms raises unusually rich and suggestive problems because of the unique status of the dramatic text as both a script for living performances and a literary work for private reading. Through a display of printed plays and related books from the period, the exhibition explores such key issues as the visualization of the theatrical experience through frontispieces and page layout, the publicizing of theatrical court festivities in sumptuous fetes-books, and the birth of modern drama criticism. A publication accompanies the exhibition. A related exhibition, "The Theatrical Baroque," is on view at the Smart Museum of Art, January 9-April 22, 2001. Organized by Larry Norman, ""The Theatrical Baroque"" examines the relationship between the dramatic and visual arts in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, a period often termed the age of theater. Among the themes it considers are the interactions of spectator and spectacle, the notion of social performance and the ""staging"" of the individual, and the relationship between art and nature in the theory and practice of baroque representation. The exhibition includes paintings, sculpture, and works on paper from the Smart Museum's permanent collection, as well as loans from several institutions including The Art Institute of Chicago and the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D. C. A fully illustrated catalogue accompanies this exhibition, which is one of a series of projects sponsored by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to encourage innovative uses of the Smart Museum's collection by University of Chicago faculty and students.

Exhibit Publications & Documents

Catalogue 71p. (perfect bound), $12