ÉMILE DESMAISONS Portrait of Molière (1622-1673) ca. 1860 [R/V] - x +
DesE1860moli


CN: DesE1860moli

MT: albumen print on paper mounted on card (9x6 / C:10x6)

TX: embossed at center right of picture <ED>, printed at lower left of margin in French <Collection E. DESMAISONS>, inscribed with fountain pen at lower center of margin <Molière>, inscribed with pencil at rear upper left <Molière>, printed at center <E. DESMAISONS / 22, Rue de l'Arbre-Sec / PRÈS LE PONT NEUF / PARIS / Ci devant Rue des Grands Augustine, 5 / Copyright Secured for England>, stamped below <MAISON / ALPH. GIROUX>

PR: Maison Alphonse Giroux, Paris

DN: Mr. Megakles Rogakos - 2009

CM: Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, mostly known by his stage name Molière, (15 January 1622 - 17 February 1673) was a French playwright and actor who is considered one of the greatest masters of comedy in Western literature.[Hartnoll, p.554. "Author of some of the finest comedies in the history of the theater." and Roy, p.756. "...one of the theatre's greatest comic artists."] Among Molière's best-known dramas are Le Misanthrope (The Misanthrope), L'École des femmes (The School for Wives), Tartuffe ou L'Imposteur (Tartuffe or the Hypocrite), L'Avare ou L'École du mensonge (The Miser), Le Malade Imaginaire (The Imaginary Invalid), and Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme (The Bourgeois Gentleman). Born into a prosperous family and having studied at the Collège de Clermont (now Lycée Louis-le-Grand), Molière was well suited to begin a life in the theatre. Thirteen years as an itinerant actor helped him polish his comic abilities while he began writing, combining Commedia dell'Arte elements with the more refined French comedy. [Donald Roy, p.756] Through the patronage of a few aristocrats, including Philippe I, Duke of Orléans - the brother of Louis XIV - Molière procured a command performance before the King at the Louvre. Performing a classic play by Pierre Corneille and a farce of his own, Le Docteur amoureux (The Doctor in Love), Molière was granted the use of salle du Petit-Bourbon at the Louvre, a spacious room appointed for theatrical performances. Later, Molière was granted the use of the Palais-Royal. In both locations he found success among the Parisians with plays such as Les Précieuses ridicules (The Affected Ladies), L'École des maris (The School for Husbands) and L'École des femmes (The School for Wives). This royal favor brought a royal pension to his troupe and the title Troupe du Roi (The King's Troupe). Molière continued as the official author of court entertainments. [Donald Roy, p.756-757] Though he received the adulation of the court and Parisians, Molière's satires attracted criticisms from moralists and the Roman Catholic Church. Tartuffe ou L'Imposteur (Tartuffe or the Hypocrite) and its attack on religious hypocrisy roundly received condemnations from the Church, while Dom Juan was banned from performance. Molière's hard work in so many theatrical capacities began to take its toll on his health and, by 1667, he was forced to take a break from the stage. In 1673, during a production of his final play, Le Malade imaginaire (The Imaginary Invalid), Molière, who suffered from pulmonary tuberculosis, was seized by a coughing fit and a haemorrhage while playing the hypochondriac Argan. He finished the performance but collapsed again and died a few hours later. [Donald Roy, p.756-757]

BIBLIOGRAPHY:
ROY, DONALD Molière in BANHAM, MARTIN (ed.) The Cambridge Guide to Theatre 1995 Cambridge University Press, New York

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