Good Pictures of Characters, Costumes, Scenery, and Masks:
**Readily available in most libraries AND through Barnesandnobles.com and Amazon.com
Books without asterisks may be more difficult to locate. A good university library should have any of these listed.
Before listing individual books, I want to mention The Motley Bibliographies: Four. It is titled Theatrical Costume, Masks, Make-up and Wigs: A Bibliography and Iconography, edited by Sidney Jowers and John Cavanagh (Routlege, NY/2000). It lists, with descriptions, all literature available on theatre history of costumes, masks, make-up and wigs through July, 1996. This includes most of the books available on Commedia dell-Arte and books on mask-making. If you are doing more extensive research for design purposes, it is an excellent resource.
1. **Lynn Lawner, Harlequin on the Moon: Commedia dell'Arte and the Visual Arts, (Harry N. Abrams, NY/1998). This book is a feast of color and B&W paintings, etchings, photos, murals, and ceramics depicting Commedia characters and scenarii from the 16th to the 20th c. It includes an introductory and concise history of Commedia.
2. **The Italian Comedy by Pierre Duchartre (Dover Publications, NY/1966) is an indepth, mostly accurate and well documented book for:
Roman comedies and Atellanae actors/masks
Descriptions of scenarios, improvisations, costumes, props, and staging
Histories of the major stock characters (Harlequin, Brighella, Pantalone, the Doctor, Pulcinella, the Captain, Pedrolino, the Women, the Lovers, and other minor Characters)
Famous Actors who played the characters
Originally written in French, the English version has 259 black and white illustrations, including all 42 plates from the Recueil Fossard, engravings compiled for Louis XIV, as well as engravings by Jacques Callot (17th c.), Maurice Sand (18th c.), Gilliot, and Watteau, to mention a few.
3. Antonio Fava's new book, The Comic Mask in Commedia dell'Arte: Actor training, Improvisation, and the Poetics of Survival, (Andromeda, Italy/1999) is currently in Italian, but will be translated into English soon. It is an excellent actor's book with improvisation techniques, and sample scenarii. The section on masks includes beautiful color plates of Signor Fava's leather masks for the major stock characters.
4. Jacques Callot was a prominent artist of the early 17th c., known for his lithographs. He spent several years in Italy and produced 24 prints of Commedia dell'Arte titled "Balli di Sfessania" (1616-1620), now famous for depicting the physicality, costuming, and actions of scenarios (usually showing two figures in front with examples of the scene in the background). These can be found in Jacques Callot by Edwin de T. Bechtel (George Brazilla, NY/1955), plates 84-107, along with larger plates of Pantaloon, Scapin, and the Captain. Color paintings of Callot's figures are in the Museo Teatro alla Scala in Milan, Italy, a museum with 2 1/2 rooms devoted to Commedia dell'Arte.
5. Maurice Sand (son of George Sand) grew up doing theatre with his mother's friends and became an artist himself. His 19th c. pictures of several major and minor characters are not terribly accurate but beautifully rendered and are frequently used to depict Commedia (Il Capitano on the web page is an example). He wrote Masks and Buffoons, 2 Volumes of pictures with text (Paris, 1860).