Who were the first celebrity couples? How was their success forged? Which forces influenced their self-fashioning and marketing strategies?
These questions are at the core of this study, which looks at the birth of a phenomenon, that of the couple in show business, with a focus on the promotional strategies devised by two professional performers: Giovan Battista Andreini (1576–1654) and Virginia Ramponi (1583–ca.1631). This book examines their artistic path – a deliberately crafted and mutually beneficial joint career – and links it to the historical, social, and cultural context of post-Tridentine Italy. Rooted in a broad research field, encompassing theatre history, Italian studies, celebrity studies, gender studies, and performance studies, The Theatre Couple in Early Modern Italy revises the conventional view of the Italian diva, investigates the deployment of Catholic devotion as a marketing tool, and argues for the importance of the couple system in the history of Commedia dell’Arte, a system that continues to shape celebrity today.