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"Bernini: Art as Theatre" forges a new analysis of Baroque illusionism through a study of this artist's sculptural ensembles. Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598-1680) was a sculptor, architect and painter, but also a court scenographer, playwright, actor and director. Bernini's work in theatre served as a wellspring for his art's visual effects. Theatre was the dominant cultural paradigm of the Baroque, manifest in the rise of opera and ballet, as well as increasingly magnificent scenographic technologies for the performed rituals of church and court. Bernini drew on a lexicon of theatrical effects, deploying light, movement and a fusion of fictive and physical space to render new forms of artistic illusion in both his sculptural mise-en-scenes and his stage sets. The force of his art's illusionistic powers lay in a fiction of materials effected through medial exchanges between sculpture, painting and architecture. This book opens up provocative new frameworks for the analysis of Baroque illusionism extending beyond Bernini to a reconsideration of seventeenth-century visual culture as a whole.