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Not currently on display at the V&A

Costume Design

ca. 1617 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This is one of a group of 69 costume designs for the court ballets of Louis XIII, now in the V&A Theatre Collections. The designs, which date from 1615-1635, are from the workshop of Daniel Rabel (1578-1637), the artist responsible for creating costumes for the spectacular entertainments performed by and for the French court. The ballets were based on the social dances of the day, but this was social dance elevated to an elaborate art form which combined choreography with poetry, music, song and pageantry, and included elements of satire and burlesque. The ballets were enormously popular. Most were given at least three performances and all required a great amount of work from their creators and performers: the Ballet de Tancrède of 1619, which used elaborate stage machinery, is known to have had 30 rehearsals. Some professional dancers, actors and singers took part but the majority of the participants were members of the nobility. Many of these aristocratic amateurs were skilled performers, including the King, who adored dancing and devised some of the ballets himself.

The Ballet de la Délivrance de Renaud (The Liberation of Rinaldo) was first performed on 29 January 1617. The libretto, taken from Tasso's poem Gerusalemme Liberata, was created by the poet Etienne Durand, who devised roles for King Louis, his favourite the Duc de Luynes, and members of the Royal Household. The knight Renaud (Tasso's Rinaldo) leaves the mountain of the Demon of Fire and is held captive by the pagan enchantress Armida, but is released through the intervention of Godefrey de Bouillon, leader of the First Crusade. The King, who appeared as both the Fire Demon and Godefrey, represented divine authority on earth.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Watercolour, ink, pencil and gold paint on paper
Brief Description
Costume design for a Soldier playing a lute, in the Ballet de la Délivrance de Renaud, performed by the Ballet de Cour of Louis XIII, 1617
Physical Description
Costume design for a Soldier playing a lute. A full length male figure in Classical costume with a golden helmet decorated with a winged dragon and blue, pink and orange plumes. The drawing is annotated with instructions for the costume maker.
Dimensions
  • Design height: 29.5cm (uneven lower edge)
  • Design width: 20.9cm
  • Including paper mount height: 42cm (maximum)
  • Including paper mount width: 30.4cm (maximum)
  • Including card mount height: 53.7cm
  • Including card mount width: 38.7cm
Marks and Inscriptions
'18' (Identification number in watercolour, upper left hand corner)
Gallery Label
Costume design for a soldier playing a lute About 1617 France (Paris) By the workshop of Daniel Rabel Watercolour, ink, pencil and gold paint Annotated with instructions for the costume maker Designed for the Ballet of the Liberation of Rinaldo Purchased with the assistance of the Art Fund (09.12.2015)
Credit line
Purchased with Art Fund support
Object history
One of a group of 69 costume designs for the court ballets of Louis XIII acquired from a collection of 188 designs discovered in a private library in Germany. The designs were bound in an album, apparently dating from the 1580s. Each design is numbered, indicating that the collection as originally constituted contained 239 items.

Summary
This is one of a group of 69 costume designs for the court ballets of Louis XIII, now in the V&A Theatre Collections. The designs, which date from 1615-1635, are from the workshop of Daniel Rabel (1578-1637), the artist responsible for creating costumes for the spectacular entertainments performed by and for the French court. The ballets were based on the social dances of the day, but this was social dance elevated to an elaborate art form which combined choreography with poetry, music, song and pageantry, and included elements of satire and burlesque. The ballets were enormously popular. Most were given at least three performances and all required a great amount of work from their creators and performers: the Ballet de Tancrède of 1619, which used elaborate stage machinery, is known to have had 30 rehearsals. Some professional dancers, actors and singers took part but the majority of the participants were members of the nobility. Many of these aristocratic amateurs were skilled performers, including the King, who adored dancing and devised some of the ballets himself.



The Ballet de la Délivrance de Renaud (The Liberation of Rinaldo) was first performed on 29 January 1617. The libretto, taken from Tasso's poem Gerusalemme Liberata, was created by the poet Etienne Durand, who devised roles for King Louis, his favourite the Duc de Luynes, and members of the Royal Household. The knight Renaud (Tasso's Rinaldo) leaves the mountain of the Demon of Fire and is held captive by the pagan enchantress Armida, but is released through the intervention of Godefrey de Bouillon, leader of the First Crusade. The King, who appeared as both the Fire Demon and Godefrey, represented divine authority on earth.
Collection
Accession Number
S.1138-1986

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record createdMay 12, 2011
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