Ferdinando Galli-Bibiena - Life

Life

Ferdinando Galli Bibiena was born on 18 August 1657 at Bologna. He was the son of painter Giovanni Maria Galli (1625–1665), and he studied painting under Carlo Cignani and architecture under Giulio Trogli, called il Paradosso. On recommendation of Cignani, Ferdinando entered into the service of the duke of Parma, and he also worked for the Farnese dynasty at Piacenza during those 30 years. His main work during this period was the garden and villa of Colorno, but he soon earned a reputation for his scenic designs and began working for the theatre.

In 1708, Ferdinando Galli Bibiena was called to Barcelona to organize the decorations in connection with the wedding festivities of the future Holy Roman emperor Charles VI. When this prince became the Emperor, Ferdinando traveled to Vienna, where he worked on designs of scenery and decorations for court festivities and opera performances. In his decorations for the theatre and festivities, Ferdinando replaced the central (vertical) axis with a diagonal axis, introducing an angular perspective along the diagonal. Ferdinando was defeated by Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach when competing for the construction of St. Charles´ church (Karlskirche) in Vienna. He returned to Bologna in 1716, where in 1717, Ferdinando was elected as a member of the Clementine Academy.

In 1731, Ferdinando Galli Bibiena built the royal theatre of Mantua (which burned 50 years later, in 1781). He produced several books, including:

  • L'Architettura civile (1711; "Civil Architecture"), later reissued under various titles; and
  • Varie opere di prospettiva (1703–1708; "Various Works of Perspective").

Ferdinando Galli Bibiena, past the age of 86, died on January 3, 1743.

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