Discovrs de ce qvi c'est passé avx nopces des Infantes de Sauoye : auec les courses & tournois faits à la Barrierre, tant à pied que à cheual / par L.S.D.P.
- L. S. D. P., active 1608
- Additional Titles:
- Discours de ce qui c'est passé aux nopces des Infantes de Savoye : avec les courses & tournois faits à la Barrierre, tant à pied que à cheval
- A Paris : Chez Mathiev Gvillemot [that is, Mathieu Guillemot], au Paris, en la Gallerie par où on va à la Chancelletie, 1608.
- Physical Description:
- 4 unnumbered pages, 147 pages ; 16 cm (8vo)
- Additional Creators:
- Guillemot, Mathieu, active 1585-1610
- The Discours covers all aspects of the Savoy Princesses' double wedding festivities (held in Turin, February 1608), including the dances and tournaments, paying particular attention to the equestrian events. The author admits a primary interest in the chivalric entertainments, which are detailed at length from pages 34-135. These include a "ballet a cavallo" (ballet for mounted horsemen), a carrousel, a tournament, a 'balleto al Savoiarda" (a hunt followed by dancing), a combat at the barrier lasting six hours, and another tournament ending with fireworks. It also fully describes the decoration of the galleries and the public rooms of the palace and castle, especially the palace's great hall, the portraits, and the columns.
- Margaret, of Savoy, Duchess of Mantua, 1589-1655—Marriage
- Francesco IV Gonzaga, Duke of Mantua, 1586-1612—Marriage
- Isabella Savoia d'Este, consort of Alfonso III d'Este, Duke of Modena, 1591-1626—Marriage
- Alfonso III d'Este, Duke of Modena, 1591-1644—Marriage
- Marriages of royalty and nobility—Italy—Turin—17th century—Early works to 1800
- Marriage customs and rites—Italy—Turin—17th century—Early works to 1800
- Festivals—Italy—Turin—17th century—Early works to 1800
- Horse ballet—Italy—Turin—17th century—Early works to 1800
- Tournaments, Medieval—Italy—Turin—17th century—Early works to 1800
- Printer's device on t.p.
A marriage festival book commemorating the double wedding of the Princesses of Savoy, Margaret (Maria Margherita) and Isabella, to Francesco IV Gonzaga (1586-1612), Duke of Mantua and Montferat, and Alfonso III d'Este (1581-1644), Duke of Modena and Reggio, held in Turin, February 1608.
Rare Books copy:
- Source of Acquisition:
- Rare Books copy: Purchased from Golden Legend; 2015.
Rare Books copy: Purchased with funds from the Mary Ann O'Brian Malkin Program Endowment for Rare Books and Manuscripts; 2015.
- Administrative History:
- Bookseller's notes: Includes an excellent description of a very early horse ballet. Of great interest to modern historians is the performance of the "balletto a cavallo" that took place in the Piazza Reale on the Saturday before the wedding of Isabella and the Duke of Modena. This was the first major element of the marriage festival (although initially there were plans to stage a combat between wild animals, which was to include a lion, tiger, monkeys, mules, and a bull. This event was abandoned when the lion refused to leave its cage.) On this occasion, the story for the ballet featured eight knights dressed as Cypriots 'vestiti di superbissimi habiti con livrea d'oro et argento' which claimed that while they were absent, travelling abroad, their ladies, going to the Temple of Venus to pray for thier safe return, were attacked and carried off by bandits. On hearing of the calamity, the knights immediately set off to search the world for their lost loves. On reaching Savoy and finding so many noble women gathered for the festivities, they asked to perform this ballet so that, should their ladies be present and not recognize them, they would at least have the opportunity to recognize the paces of their horses (Discours, 92 ctd. in Gordon, 105). "This balletto a cavallo was among the very first of such horse ballets [in Torino], which during the next few decades were to become an indispensible part of court entertainment" (Gordon, 107). Roy Strong notes that the "revival of this antique horse ballet was to become a preoccupation of the Mannerist period and was pioneered by the Medici court in virtually every set of festivals from 1608 onwards [in September 1608, the Florentine court celebrated the mariiage of the heir Cosimo Medici to Maria Maddelena of Austria]" (56). European horse ballets had antecedents in the designs of Giulio Parigi (1571-1635), who in turn based his designs on those of Vasari's mascarade of 1565 and the Buontalenti floats for the sbarra of 1589 (Strong, 150).
The balletto a cavallo (described in Discours, 91-94), although still in its infancy, was "something of a hybrid, taking elements from the court ballo and from the tournament field. The figure of the knight errant is borrowed from the chivalric tradition; so too the stylized 'combat' with swords ... But the form of the ballo itself, the figures, and the use of music to accompany the movements of the horses are more characteristic of the ballet de cour than of the tournament field. Perhaps this new form of entertainment could be seen as the final mutation of the tournament into pure spectacle" (Gordon, 105-6). The horse ballet remained extremely popular throughout the 17th and into the 18th century, while the tournament and "carrousel" parade had limited interest.
Strong, citing the historian Claude François Ménestrier's Traité des Tournois, Joustes, Carrousels, et Autres Spectacles Publics (1669), discusses the development of the carrousel and in particular the horse ballet in which "movements of the horses and riders echoes the courses of the heavens." Ménestrier considered the horses' steps as "true dance figures, in harmony with the sounds and tunes which guide the horses during the ballet" (56). The relationship between the ballet de cour and the horse ballet has not often been studied but the similarities and obvious differences warrant close attention. References: 1. Gordon, Jessica Ann, "La Sposa trionfante": Entertainments for Princely Marriages in Turin, Mantua and Florence, 1608, PhD thesis, University of Warwick (1991). 2. Strong, Roy, Art and Power (1984). 3. Watanabe-O'Kelly 155.
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