11 August 2012

Teatro Olimpico: Antiodèo

Sopraporte ornament in the lobby of the Teatro Olimpico, Vicenza
I was meeting with a new client this week who found me through this blog, which, she pointed out, has been languishing. Indeed it has, and I am sorry that business elsewhere has prevented me from writing as often as I'd like. I promised to go home and post something, and so I went straight into my most radioactive file for inspiration.
One of the great highlights of my life as a traveling ornamentalist was a visit to the Teatro Olimpico in Vicenza.  Someday when I am in better control of my emotional reaction to this incredible place I will post my photos of the theater itself.
For now I want to point out some detail from one of the two lobbies of the Teatro, the Antiodèo, which is decorated with Renaissance trompe l'oeil frescoes of classical architecture.
Antiodèo, Teatro Olimpico, VIcenza
Built into an oddly shaped medieval fortress, the Teatro Olimpico manages to present some classical proportions through the genius of the design by Palladio and Scamozzi.  The frescoes by Giovanni Antonio Fasolo create the illusion of symmetry in an otherwise awkward interior space.
The Antiodèo also houses a seriously dangerous architectural bookshop.
detail, trompe l'oeil casing, bracket, and cornice
As a decorative artist I will often stare at details admiring how they were painted. Look closely at the 'casing' of this doorway. So simply painted, so effective.

Hoc opus, hic labor est  

All images in this post by Lynne Rutter,  Vicenza 2009


  1. Your blog is always a treat, even with the (ahem) long lapses between posting! This is just stunning.

  2. Dear Regina, I remember being disappointed when first visiting the Teatro Olimico. I had not expected to see "only" a stage set. And after sitting a while, in one of the back chairs of the empty Teatro, did I realize that I was witnessing the work of a genius, Andrea Palladio.

    1. Gina, thanks for visiting.
      The stage set is entirely the work of Scamozzi, who completed the work after Palladio died. The set is permanent and has not been used much as apparently this style fell out of favor after the 16th century. I shall write about that in a separate post. I really felt a strong appreciation the accomplishment of creating this incredible classical feeling in such a wonky old medieval building, and that it is miraculously still there in tact after nearly 450 years! Also the painting is pretty fabulous- understated so you don't notice it right away.

  3. Hi Lynne - I was looking at that moulding design even before you mentioned it and thinking how successful the effect of 3-D is with such minimal modeling. How great that it lasted all these years.

  4. Absolutely stunning! The simplicity of the small moldings around the door is amazing to look at in how it creates such high impact. As the saying goes, "Less is more".

  5. THank You! I don't think I've ever seen the Antiodeo before. I'll have to leave my credit cards at home when I go visit the book store. I've heard the theater smells really good from all that unfinished wood too. I need to get back into my blog too!!

  6. That entrance looks beautiful. You are correct about the details. Amazing.


Join the conversation!