GALLI BIBIENA, Carlo
(b. 1728, Wien, d. after 1778, Firenze)

Biography

Italian architect and scenographer, son of Giuseppe Galli Bibiena. As early as 1746 he was contributing to the decorations for the marriage of the daughter of the Margrave of Bayreuth. Two years later he was appointed supervisor of court decorations in Bayreuth. However, in the same year (1748) he acted as his father's assistant on the decoration of the new theatre there (much still in situ). In 1753 he undertook independently the decoration of a theatre in Munich (destroyed) for Maximilian III Joseph, Elector of Bavaria. He returned to Bayreuth, but soon an arrangement was made whereby he was to spend half the year there and half as architect and theatre designer to the Margrave's brother-in-law, Charles I, Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel.

Such comfortable proposals were interrupted by the outbreak of the Seven Years War (1756) and Carlo retreated to Italy, finding work in Rome and Bologna. In 1758 the death of the Princess Wilhelmina, Margravine of Bayreuth, took him briefly back to Bayreuth to design the funerary monuments and decorations. However, he was soon on the move again, travelling to France, the Netherlands and eventually London, where he stayed (engaged on theatrical work) until 1763. The resumption of peace (1763) beckoned him to the court of the victor, Frederick II, in Berlin, where he succeeded his late father as opera designer, though he does not seem to have been entirely successful there. His later life is uncertain. He is recorded in Naples (1772), designing festive decoration, and may have designed the Teatro Grande in Pavia (1773). A supposed subsequent trip to Russia ended in 1778.