Thursday, July 14, 2011

Teatro Argentina

The Teatro Argentina is a grand rococo theater in Rome.  It was built in the 1730s and is where the opera, The Barber of Seville first premiered.  But when one looks at the impressive interior you get the sense that The Argentina is a true reflection of its time.  Sure, it has all the rococo grandeur in the form of cupids and pastels, but remember, going to the theater in the 18th century was less about going to see the play and more about seeing the attendees.  In order to accommodate this essential detail the Teatro Argentina was built with six stories of opera boxes, which makes viewing and gossiping all the easier.

Like Canaletto and his views of London, although times have changed we can still look upon the same structure.  The Argentina has gone through many alterations through the years, which has stripped it of its rococo look and replaced it with a more simple one.  But luckily for us Giovanni Paolo Panini painted the theater in 1747, leaving us with the grand spectacle that it once was when it was filled with all its gossiping guests.
Giovanni Paolo Panini, Feast at the Teatro Argentina in Rome in Honor of the Second Marriage of the French Dauphin, 1747


  1. I just finished reading "The Count of Monte Cristo" in which I remember the Teatro Argentina was mentioned. The Count offered his box in the Teatro del Popolo to Albert d' Morcerf and Franz d' Epinay saying that he was to go to the Argentina that night.

    Thank you for sharing this with us, it was very nice knowing more about the context in which the Count was moving himself. The painting in which the Argentina was shown reflected all the elegance in it.

  2. Wow, the first picture is really breathtaking.