On the 8th January 1663 a wonderful ballet by Jean-Baptiste Lully (libretto by Mr. Benserade) was danced in Palais Royal at the presence of two queens (the queen-mother & Maria Theresa, Louis XIV’s wife). Besides the king, the whole Court was involved in this wonderful performance. The ballet was named “Ballet des Arts” & it was dedicated to main artistic fields in the kingdom.
Messire Benserade writes in the preface: “The Peace (Treaty of the Pyrenees 1659) brought Abundance, made come into being Pleasures & made re-flourish Sciences & Arts, seven of which are name free, guided by their inventor Prometheus, appeared at this solemn Court.” (Ballet des Arts, M.Benserade, 1663, Paris). The ballet is focused on activities considered to be the most important for France of that period in this or that way: Agriculture, Navigation, Blacksmithing, Painting, Hunting, Surgery & War.
Each of this field is represented allegorically, while the King & his milieu performed its participants (peasants, merchants, workers). I would like to remember you, Esteemed Readers, that the ballet of Louis XIV’s time differed from our modern comprehension. It was a solemn performance united dancing, singing & wonderful stage machines by Carlo Vigarani.
Enjoy listening & imaging!
Vive le Roy! 🙂