My favorite question: “If you could invite any historical figure to dinner, who would you choose?”. As an art historian I spend much of my time with my head in the past, the list is endless. I do have my favorites though…
The Sun King – Louis XIV
To be honest with you I only fell in love with the eccentric big wig after watching Gerard Corbiau’s Le Rio Danse (2000) a few years ago. As a fan of music and dance I felt that I could relate to Corbiau’s portrayal of the young king. Louis introduced ballet and Italian opera to the French court in the form of Italian composer Jean-Baptiste Lully. Since watching the film I have become a big fan of Lully’s. I admire Louis’ passion and dedication to the arts, so much so that he often appeared in ballets portraying mythical figures such a Apollo and the Sun King.
The Unfortunate Austrian – Marie Antoinette
Marie Antoinette, misunderstood Austrian lass or spoiled brat? Marie Antoinette refused to wear a corset as the ladies did at the French court. To me Antoinette represented a battle against conforming to the French royal family. She despised the routines and formalities that she was married into. Letters to her mother portray Antoinette as a free thinking and open young lady who didn’t care if the other young ladies at court found her to be a bit of a rebel. Over time Antoinette secluded herself from the royal family and her duties. She had a cottage built away from the palace of Versailles and spent most of her time in the garden planting flowers. She longed for the close family bond that she had with her own family back in Austria. Her’s is a story of loneliness and tragedy.
The Man of Many Women – Giacomo Casanova
Casanova was born and raised in my favorite city, Venice. As a young boy Giacomo was abandoned by his father and left by his actress mother to be raised by his grandmother. Casanova clearly had mummy and daddy issues which may have resulted in his flamboyant and promiscuous lifestyle. I read the memoirs of Casanova when I was 21 years old and I was shocked by his tales of steamy nights with nuns and mistresses. To this day I still don’t quite understand a particular sexual encounter that involved an egg…