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date: 18 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

In the global history of spectacles, the baroque era constitutes an acme not only because it encompasses the most influential corpus of Western drama but also because of the unprecedented use of stagecraft in the pursuit of political goals. At a time when the world-as-theater metaphor reached the apex of its relevance, nowhere was it more aptly enacted than in the royal, imperial, ducal, and princely courts of Europe. Spectacle events were an integral part of life at court; although on the surface their purpose was providing entertainment, in the modern sense of gratuitous distraction, their function was almost always more complex as it pertained to diplomacy, propaganda, or governance. Moreover, the unfettered pursuit of distinction and the need for the extraordinary in all of its forms made the baroque court a creative laboratory in which all disciplines (drama, ballet, music, gardening, cuisine) could be practiced at the highest possible levels of excellence, and in which myriad influential artistic forms were first developed.

Keywords: baroque, ballet, carnival dancing, festivals garden, jousting opera, pageants pastoral, tournaments

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