© Museo dei Burattini di Budrio

Name of Object:

Marionette of Hamlet


Budrio, Bologna, Italy

Holding Museum:

Museum of Puppets Zanella/Pasqualini


Second half of the sixteenth century

Type of object:



Pietro Resoniero  (1640-1735)

Material(s) / Technique(s):

Wood carved and painted, silk, glass

Place of production:

Possibly Italy or Vienna


Height 60 cm

Workshop / Movement:



William Shakespeare wrote his tragedy Hamlet around 1600–1601. The protagonist of this work is one of the most famous characters in world literature. The success of the play was very quick and Pietro Resoniero made this marionette, still wearing the original clothes, after moving to Vienna, in 1667. Resoniero, originally from Venice, founded in Vienna an Italian marionettes theatre by the "JUVEN MARKT" and a school for puppet-masters. He probably introduced the character of Pulcinella in Austria and Germany, where he was called Casperl or Hanswurt (John Sausage). From Italy came the Rezzonieri (the Resonieri family) and the Griffi, who were the first in Germany to make plays with the "Puppenspielen" (Yorik, La storia dei burattini, 1884).
The marionette's head is made of pine wood. Its hair is made of silk thread, the mouth is finely formed and the eyes are made of glass, probably Murano. The precious garments he is wearing declare the character's social state. Turned down eyebrows and wrinkles at the sides of the mouth express desperation giving the face a heart-rending expression and foretelling the future tragedy. A very sophisticated device endows the marionette with an ample chance of movement, it can move its feet, walk and bend its knees.

View Short Description

Selected bibliography:

Guarino, M., Fabbri, I. Chi è di scena! Burattini e Marionette in Emilia Romagna, Regione Emilia Romagna, Istituto per i beni artistici culturali e naturali, Bologna, 2009 (DVD Rom).

Citation of this web page:

Vittorio  Zanella  "Marionette of Hamlet" in Discover Baroque Art , Museum With No Frontiers, 2018. http://www.museumwnf.org/thematicgallery/thg_galleries/database_item.php?itemId=objects;BAR;it;Mus13;43;en&id=theatre

Prepared by: Vittorio Zanella Vittorio Zanella

SURNAME: Zanella
NAME: Vittorio


TITLE: Curator

CV: pupil of some of the most famous nineteenth-century puppet showmen such as Otello Sarzi Madidini e Maria Signorelli. Collaborator of Teatro Gioco Vita, Emanuele Luzzati, Giorgio Strehler, Cesare Zavattini, Mariele Ventre (Antoniano of Bologna). Former counsellor of UNIMA Italia (Puppet Internazional Union) from 1992 to 2000, National Counsellor up to 2008, arbiter from 2008.
He has taken part to many festivals in Italy and abroad: Switzerland, Finland, Iran, Spain, Morocco, Slovenia, France, Ungheria, Czech Republic, Belgium. He has received several awards.
In 2000 was opened the Museum of Puppets ZANELLA/PASQUALINI" in Budrio (BO - ITALY) housing a collection of more than 5000 pieces from 1500, more than 33000 documents, a library with more than 5000 books. For an even more detailed curriculum see www.teatrinodelles.com.

Translation by: Antonella MampieriAntonella Mampieri

SURNAME: Mampieri
NAME: Antonella

AFFILIATION: Musei Civici d’Arte Antica, Bologna

TITLE: Art Hitorian

Graduated and specialised at the University of Bologna. She is a specialist in Bolognese late Baroque art, namely sculpture. Among other subjects she has been studying nineteenth-century funerary art in the Bologna monumental cemetery, la Certosa.

Translation copyedited by: Lisa Kelman

MWNF Working Number: IT2 47