Lodovico Ottavio Burnacini

As opera swept across the Continent in the seventeenth century, European courts began importing Italian musicians and scenographers. By 1651, Lodovico Burnacini had moved from northern Italy to Vienna to assist his father, Giovanni (1610¬–1655), theatrical engineer to Leopold I, the Holy Roman emperor. In addition to opera, the imperial court was partial to sacred productions, staged in ecclesiastical settings with theatrical backdrops like the one seen here. This depiction of a biblical scene relates to a series of twenty similarly conceived drawings by Lodovico, which may have been made for such productions.

Lodovico Ottavio Burnacini (1636–1707)
Hagar and the Angel, ca. 1680
Pen and brown ink, with gray wash, over black chalk
Gift of Mrs. Donald M. Oenslager; 1982.75:172