Joseph Furttenbach (1591 – 1667) was a German architect, engineer and architecture theorist who lived in Italy from 1610 to 1620. During his stay there, he completed an apprenticeship as a merchant and grew an interest in military architecture and in theatre and stage design.
At the time, Italy was a laboratory for the development of early modern European theatre with a growing interest in optical devices, experimentation in new stage devices and technological inventions applied to theatrical architecture.
In an attempt to preserve the knowledge developed all over the years, Furttenbach started producing detailed descriptions of parades, performances and festivals. In 1640 he wrote one of his treatises on architecture and engineering, the Architectura Recreationis, in which he documented, through texts and engravings, stage and light design, and the machines developed in Italy to create wonder. Afterwards, he moved back to Germany where he became an acclaimed architect and engineer and later the city architect of Ulm.