The J. Paul Getty Museum

The Courtyard of a Palace: Project for a Stage

Object Details


The Courtyard of a Palace: Project for a Stage


Filippo Juvarra (Italian, 1678 - 1736)






Pen and brown ink, gray and brown wash, over black chalk

Object Number:



20.3 × 19.1 cm (8 × 7 1/2 in.)

See more

See less

Object Description

This study for an elaborate Baroque stage set appears as if set in a courtyard surrounded by a covered walkway. Corinthian columns support the structure, while sculptures set on pedestals decorate the sides. Two angels with their trumpets perch atop the columns at the entrance to the illusionistically receding structure. At the rear, a gently flowing fountain tops a domed niche.

Filippo Juvarra sketched the architecture with quick, fluid strokes that easily captured the lavish setting. His freely moving pen suggested a delicate pattern in the arching dome underneath the fountain and the fringed edge of the stage curtain overhead. Broad strokes of wash create the hanging swags of fabric and give a sense of dappled sunshine where dark patches of shadow contrast with areas of brilliant light.

Juvarra produced this drawing and seven others in the process of designing the stage sets for an opera that was first performed at a Roman theater in 1714. Though he did not use this design in that production, he may have transformed this sketch into another scheme during the development of the project.

Drawing Italy in the Age of the Grand Tour (February 5 to May 12, 2002)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), February 5 to May 12, 2002