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date: 11 August 2020

Lully, Jean-Baptiste [Lulli, Giovanni Battista](i)locked

  • Jérôme de La Gorce

Extract

[Lulli, Giovanni Battista]

Member of Lully family

(b Florence, Nov 28, 1632; d Paris, March 22, 1687). Composer, dancer and instrumentalist of Italian birth.

Lully's origins were modest. His father, Lorenzo (1599–1667), seems to have come from peasant stock; like his ancestors, he was born in Tuscany in the Mugello area and probably at Campestri, where he, his brothers and a cousin owned a chestnut wood. By the age of twenty he was living in Florence, and in 1620 he married a miller's daughter, Catarina del Sera (or del Seta). They had three children: Verginio (1621–38), Giovanni Battista and Margherita (d 1639). Little is known about the education of the younger son. He may have learnt writing and arithmetic at an early age from his father, who became a miller and a businessman, but the boy probably had to turn to the Franciscan friars of the Via Borgo Ognissanti, where his parents lived, for his introduction to music and instruction on the guitar and violin, which he must have learnt in his youth. According to Le Cerf de la Viéville, his first music master was ‘a good Franciscan friar’. It is not known how he came to be chosen to go to France as an Italian tutor to Louis XIV's cousin Anne-Marie-Louise d'Orléans, known as the ‘Grande Mademoiselle’, who was studying the language at the time, but he was engaged by the princess's uncle Roger de Lorraine, the chevalier de Guise, who visited Florence in ...

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