Migrations of Italian Artists to France, from 1650 to 1789


Beginning in the mid-seventeenth century and until the French Revolution, numerous talents born in Northern or Central Italy were driven to leave their country to pursue their professions in other European states. This phenomenon, indicative of the economic and cultural decline of these ultramontane regions, was particularly notable for France around 1650 thanks to Mazarin, who had become Prime Minister, but also during the Regency thanks to Anne of Austria. The young Louis XIV soon took over, before even the start of his reign. It was during this period that painters, architects, stage designers, composers and singers came to Paris from Bologna, Modena, Venice, Florence or Rome. They enjoyed remarkable success beginning in 1645 in Paris and in other locations where the court resided; the influence exerted by some would sometimes prove to be lasting, and would extend to other European countries.

Versailles, representation of Alceste by Lully and Quinault during the celebration of the 4th of july 1674, engraving: Le Pautre.