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The Early «commedia dell'arte» 1550-1621

The Mannerist Context

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Paul C. Castagno

This book establishes a Mannerist context for the early commedia dell'arte during its advent in the latter half of the sixteenth century and the beginning of the seventeenth century. The geographical area is based in Italy, with consideration of commedia dell'arte influences in other European countries. The commedia dell'arte is linked to maniera, the word from which Mannerism is etymologically based, and other concepts such as disegno interno, licenzia, and gusto.
Utilizing a synchronic methodology, Castagno explores the link between the Mannerist pittore vago («wandering painters») and the itinerant performers of the commedia dell'arte. By way of conclusion, Castagno demonstrates how Mannerist terms can be applied to the salient performance features of the commedia dell'arte, establishing this theatrical form and practice within a Mannerist context.