Cia Fornaroli collection of costume drawings and prints [items in mats]

Collection Data

The Cia Fornaroli collection of costume drawings and prints comprises 481 original drawings and 24 prints adapted as costume designs, for a total of 505 items. Of this number, 217 drawings and 5 prints were mounted in mats; 264 drawings and 19 prints are stored as loose sheets. Because of Fornaroli's background as a ballerina, choreographer, teacher, and director at the Teatro alla Scala and its associated school, it has been assumed that most of these designs were made for ballet or opera productions at La Scala, chiefly during the nineteenth century, although in some instances the world premieres of these works may have been presented elsewhere. Few of the items in this collection are labeled with the title of the ballet or opera. Although an attempt has been made to link the designs to particular ballets or operas, in most cases the links have not been confirmed. Some of the designs may never have been realized onstage. Almost all of the original drawings depict single figures against a plain background, in portrait format. Many include notations, which are often difficult to decipher, by the designer or others; some are numbered. Some notations were added by library staff in the course of processing. Only a small proportion of the original drawings have been signed by the artist. The bulk of these are 135 items signed by E. Schiano, while 23 items are signed by E. Vigano. The full names of these artists have not been identified. Three items are signed by Alessandro Rossi Brighenti. Isolated names appear on other items, but it is often uncertain whether they are artist's signatures or the names of the performers. Twenty-four items are etchings or lithographs from various sources, often with additional markings and/or notations by the designer.This part of the collection contains original drawings and prints mounted in mats. They have been grouped in rough categories based on various criteria. The first two groups contain signed works by E. Vigano and Alessandro Rossi Brighenti. The next seven groups contain designs tentatively linked to particular ballets, arranged in chronological order. The following four groups contain designs that appear to be related stylistically or thematically, but have not been linked to a particular work. A group of 17 items are embossed or stamped with the name Borri or P. Borri, probably signifying the dancer-choreographer Pasquale Borri, and may have been made for his ballets. Five groups are organized by broad subject categories: Pulcinella figures, Scottish-inspired costumes, folk and ethnic costumes, miscellaneous men's costumes, and miscellaneous women's costumes. In a category by itself is an ink and wash drawing containing two fully delineated figures, a rarity in this collection.
Borri, Pasquale, 1820-1884 (Associated name)
Rossi-Brighenti, Alessandro (Costume designer)
Vigano, E (Costume designer)
Dates / Origin
Date Issued: 1800 - 1899 (Approximate)
Library locations
Jerome Robbins Dance Division
Shelf locator: *MGZGV 12-6431
Donizetti, Gaetano, 1797-1848 -- Favorite
Usiglio, Emilio, 1841-1910 -- Nozze in prigione
Conte di Montecristo (Choreographic work : Rota)
Contessa d'Egmont (Choreographic work : Rota)
Dea del Valhalla (Choreographic work : Borri)
Esmeralda (Choreographic work : Monticini)
Esmeralda (Choreographic work : Perrot)
Giocoliera (Choreographic work : Borri)
Ines di Castro (Choreographic work : Cortesi)
Nabuccodonosor (Choreographic work : Cortesi)
Pietro di Portogallo; ossia Ines di Castro (Choreographic work : Taglioni)
Costume design -- Italy
Ballet -- Italy -- 19th century
Esmeralda (Fictitious character)
Punchinello (Fictitious character)
Costume design drawings
Title devised by cataloger.
Acquisition: Gift; Walter Toscanini.
Acquisition: Gitano design from Ines de Castro (no. 31) Gift; Lillian Moore.
Biographical/historical: Cia (Lucia) Fornaroli was an Italian ballerina, teacher, choreographer, and director. Trained at the ballet school of La Scala, Milan, she danced for a time as prima ballerina of the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City, before returning to perform at La Scala in 1918. As the director of the ballet school of La Scala, and later in her own dance studio in New York, she handed down her art to future generations of dancers. She was married to Walter Toscanini, the son of conductor Arturo Toscanini, whose work as a dance historian, editor, collector, and curator complemented her contributions to the field of dance.
Physical Description
Extent: 216 drawings : watercolor, gouache, metallic pigment, graphite, ink, color ; 32 x 23 cm. or smaller.
Extent: 1 drawing : ink, wash, b&w ; 22 x 22 cm.
Extent: 5 prints : lithograph, etching, color ; 25 x 20 cm. or smaller.
Type of Resource
Still image
RLIN/OCLC: 826774560
NYPL catalog ID (B-number): b19763798
Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): edd162f0-8f2c-0134-6f06-00505686a51c
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