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Portrait of Pietro Bembo by Giovanni Bellini (British Royal Collection)

I explored the British Royal Collection and learned that in 1940, it was suggested that the above portrait, by Giovanni Bellini, was a portrait of Pietro Bembo (20 May 1470 – 11 or 18 January 1547). It is a suggestion, which means that there is an element of doubt. The facial features of the Royal Collection’s Pietro Bembo bear a resemblance to Raphael’s portrait, but Raphael’s portrait of Pietro Bembo (c. 1506), shows a dark-haired Pietro Bembo.

The Madrigal

I know of Pietro Bembo from my days as a student of musicology. He is associated with the development of polyphony (many voices) through the madrigal (songs in the mother tongue, as in the Spanish madre), secular songs. However, Pietro Bembo was a writer, not a musician.

As the popularity of madrigals waned, Louis XIV, who loved to dance and was a dancer, hired Italian-born  Jean-Baptiste Lully, or Giovanni Battista Lulli, a composer and dancer. When Molière returned to Paris after spending several years touring France, his Précieuses ridicules (18 November 1659) impressed the court.

I have yet to order my new computer, but when it arrives, we will again be in Italy briefly. Molière created the comédie-ballet. Les Fâcheux was performed at Vaux-le-Vicomte.  Molière wrote the text and Lulli, the music. The ballet accompanying Les Fâcheux (The Bores) was choreographed was Pierre Beauchamp.

A few years ago, I  wrote a post on Vaux-le-Vicomte and, in partiular the feast hosted by Nicolas Fouquet on 17 August 1661, perhaps the most lavish fête in the history of France. Louis XIV had just become king of France. Louis was so impressed that during the fête itself, he decided to destroy Fouquet, or Foucquet. The video I used has been removed and I have yet to find a video that matches the former video.


Le Roi danse (Photo credit: Google Images)


Would that Giovanni Bellini had given a name to the persons whose portrait he painted. He entitled many of his portraits as Portrait of a Young Man or Portrait of a Man.

I have a new post, I hope to publish today. It is about ballet. Molière created the comédie-ballet in 1661. He created a total of 11.

With kind regards to all of you.

The video shown below is an excerpt from a film entitled Le Roi danse.


© Micheline Walker
7 April 2016