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LGBT People of History 89 - Jean-Baptiste de Lully

Updated on April 23, 2012
Jean-Baptiste de Lully
Jean-Baptiste de Lully | Source
Jean-Baptiste de Lully's Alceste Ballet in the marble courtyard at the Palace of Versailles
Jean-Baptiste de Lully's Alceste Ballet in the marble courtyard at the Palace of Versailles | Source

Jean-Baptiste de Lully

Jean-Baptiste de Lully (1632 – 1687) rose from humble beginnings to the court of Louis XIV of France as the major driving force behind the French Baroque style of music.

He was born in Florence in Italy, the son of a miller. His education was minimal but it seems he did learn how to play the guitar. Later he moved to France and entered the service of Mademoiselle de Montpensier as a scullery boy and tutor of Italian. Here he learned to play the violin and to dance. He seemed to have become fed-up with his life there and composed a cheeky song about the Princess. This seemed to have gotten him fired and he then came to the attention of Louis XIV in 1653 as a dancer.

At court he composed some ballet music for the King. This and other music went down well and Louis eventually appointed him as the head of ‘Les Vingt-Quatre Violons du Roi’ (The Twenty Four King’s Violins). In the 1660s and 1670s, Lully composed many ballets in which he and the King would dance. He composed the music for many of Moliere’s works. Eventually Lully was in control of all of the music performed in France.

In 1661 he became a French subject. He was married and had three sons.

He was bisexual and had many affairs with men and with women. Although his career had tremendous highs, the scandal these affairs brought brought him down several times. However he always managed to reinstate himself in the King’s favour as the King adored his music and considered him a trusted friend.

In 1687, he was conducting when he hit his toe with a stick he was keeping time with. This turned gangrenous and spread causing his death in March of the same year.

His music is still played at the Palace of Versailles.

Ian and Callum.

With thanks to Wikipedia.


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    • alian346 profile image

      alian346 6 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland

      Certainly seems to have been, Dexter!


    • Dexter Yarbrough profile image

      Dexter Yarbrough 6 years ago from United States

      I bet this guy was very interesting to hang out with! Great info. Thanks for sharing!

    • alian346 profile image

      alian346 6 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland

      He was very stubborn as he refused to have his foot amputated.


    • calpol25 profile image

      Callum 6 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland, UK (At Home With My Wonderful Partner)

      Such a great hub Ian.

      Shame about his demise with gangrene.



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