Ephemera, Festivals and Theatrical Representation
Festive sites
Theatre, music and dance were central to court life and aristocratic society.
Theatre, music and dance were central to court life and aristocratic society. Festive sites, designed to reflect their owners' social status, wealth and artistic cultivation, were constructed and decorated by practitioners using the most up-to-date scenic and theatrical solutions, for example, quadratura (illusory, perspective painting). An Individual's and an entire town's pride might be invested in a theatre building or hall built especially for a particular patron or performance, but among the less formal venues for festivities are the staircases which became magnificent ceremonial sites; religious sites inspired by the scenic solutions used in the theatre (i.e. the great sacro monte pilgrimage sites); the dazzling balls and masquerades that were staged in open-air and indoor venues and seemed to cross over into both: enchanting palace gardens (specially decorated for the occasion) animated by the most beloved props of Baroque festivities, nature and water, and which were transposed, like stage sets, indoors, into palace rooms (sala terrena) decorated with sumptuous grotta, illusory paintings of nature and gardens.
Stairway (general view)

Exterior, Sanctuary of Our Lady of Good Remedy
Lamego, Viseu, Portugal
Design: Manuel Faustino Loureiro (active 1782)
A sacro monte connecting the secular and sacred, beginning in the Garden of the Kings and terminating with the dominant Sanctuary of Our Lady of Good Remedy. The theatricality is sensed in the fantastic view of the stairs, the azulejos, vegetation, fountains and noise of water all around. To trace the roots of this venue one might look to the Villa dEste in Tivoli and in the Garden of the Bom Jesus.