Men's display dance
18th century Provence, France
1777 'The Dancers', by Gaspard Gregoire (1751-1846)
from 'Explication des cérémonies de la Fête-Dieu d'Aix en Provence'
[An account of the festival of Corpus Christi in Aix]
(copyright Musée Granet/CPA. Aix-en-Provence, France. Cliché Bernard Terlay
Gaspard Gregoire describes the various ceremonies performed during the week-long springtime celebration including folk habits and local social traditions in Provence, southern France. Twelve plates in the book show various scenes of theatre and dance and the ornate costumes designed for the shows. The final plate has five pieces of music. [Description in French here; the pipe and tabor is also shown accompanying 'La reino Sabo', ' Leis Tirassouns' and 'Leis Chivaoux frux'].
The festival of Corpus Christi was celebrated throughout France, Spain and Portugal with elaborate processions of nobles and clerics and with mystery plays put on by the local merchants and craftsmen. Historically, the festival was accompanied by music, dancing and fireworks. It was made an obligatory feast for Roman Catholics from 1311 and reached the height of its popularity in the 15th century. These festivities and the medieval traditions of the pageant were still preserved at Aix in the 18th century.
In an 1851 edition the titles are in more understandable modern French. ['The Dancers' page 17; this online edition has good zoom mode.]
This plate is used on the front cover of Les Musiciens de Provence.
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