Scenic theatre has undergone drastic changes. During the Greek, Elizabethan and Medieval periods, the rear wall of the theatre acted as the scenery. During these periods, scene locations were either obvious or unimportant. During medieval periods, morality plays incorporated scenic elements to have the desired effects on the audience. The modern theatre scenery is a product in the Italian renaissance. The modern scenery has its basis on the discovery of rules of perspective and application of the rules to the world of architecture.
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Early evolution of theatrical scenery was because of efforts by several artists over a period of more than two hundred years. Major evolutions in theatrical scenery took place from the early 16th century to the mid-17th century. Some of the artists who made considerable contributions to theatrical scenery include Filippo Brunelleschi, Leon Battista Alberti, Pellegrino da San Daniele and Sebastiano Serlio. Brunelleschi was the first architect who created an impression of space and distance on a flat surface. The illusion of space and distance found broad application in theatrical scenery. Alberti improved the works of Brunelleschi on geometric principles that helped create the illusion of space and distance on a flat surface. Daniele was one of the first artists to incorporate the theatre background with the objects and acts in the play. Daniele placed individual houses in angled perspective in front of a painted background while staging a play. Serlio was the first person to publish work detailing the design and construction of a theatre (Wild 1). This enlightened people on developments in theatrical scenery.
By the end of the 17th century, most of Western Europe ad adopted the Italian scenic practices. However, Vienna challenged the Italian scenic practices by creating elaborate designs, which focused on increasing the size and grandeur of stage settings. Developments in theatrical scenery during the Italian Renaissance helped improve stage performance by making the stage resemble the real environment.
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