Italiano      English
Northwestern Library
Commedia dell'Arte: The Masks of Antonio Fava
Francatrippa Pulcinella Pantalone Bravazza Dottore

The Commedia dell'Arte, the famous theatre style born in Renaissance Italy, remains a major influence in today's theatre.  Maestro Antonio Fava's work has kept this art form vital. His masks, writings and performances bring an immediacy and connection to artists and audiences throughout the world.  

In Chicago, the Commedia influence can be seen in this city's improv theatre scene. It was Viola Spolin herself (often credited as the mother of Chicago improv) who said "Improvisation is not new for God's sake! The Commedia dell'Arte improvised!"  This spirit of improvisation links the two cultures and theatre traditions.

Through a generous grant from The Estate of Dorothy Jean Adams, five of Maestro Fava's masks have been purchased by the Northwestern University Library and will be housed in its Special Collections - Charles Deering McCormick Library. The masks will be available for members of the Northwestern University community to use for research and performance. Along with the physical masks is this website which will include photos and 3D models that will allow a wider public to appreciate these masks.   Digital versions of these masks will also be available in the virtual world of Second Life so that users can actually experience wearing and moving with the masks and observe others in action.

This project is a collaboration of a number of individuals and organizations within Northwestern University and beyond.  

For more information please contact:
Dan Zellner
Digital Collections
Northwestern University Library


Northwestern University Library

Northwestern University Academic Research and Technologies

Northwestern University Department of French and Italian

Northwestern University Press

Ars Comica/Scuola Internazionale dell'Attore Comico

University of Georgia Department of Theatre and Film Studies

Additional Thanks