Collection of 105 watercolor drawings of ballet costumes. Milan, end of the 19th century

Autore: BARTEZAGO, Luigi (1820-1905)


Dati tipografici:



The drawings are made on loose paper cards measuring 329x162 mm each, and are all signed. Occasionally, on the verso, there are some pencil sketches and/or annotations by the artist. Many cards bear the ownership entry on verso “Proprietà Angela Colla” and the reference to the ballets for which the costumes were designed, i.e., an anonymous “Danze esotiche” and two ballets by R. Marenco, “I sette peccati capitali” (first staged in Milan at the Teatro alla Scala in 1873) and “Excelsior” (first staged in Milan at the Teatro alla Scala in 1881). All the drawings show full-figure costumes but for 5, which depict objects, details of costumes and vestments, and a scene with several costumed men holding a huge lavish sedan chair. The cards are preserved in a modern cloth slipcase.

Born in Milan, Bartezago was a theater costume designer, lithographer, and photographer. He was also a painter, continuously present at the Brera exhibitions in Milan from 1851 to 1894. As a customer designer he mostly collaborated with the Teatro alla Scala in Milan (cf. M. Tappa Bertoncelli, Favola, storia, moda nel costume teatrale dell'800: i figurini acquerellati del museo di Novara, Turin, 1985, pag. 107; see also L. Ferrari, La Collezione Gallini: gusto, usanze, modi del teatro musicale del secondo Ottocento, Milan, 1982, pp. 101-103).

Romualdo Marenco (1841-1907) was an Italian composer, best known for his music for the Italian “Grand Ballets”. “Excelsior” was undoubtedly his major success.