La Moresca (Testudo)
Peter De Cleyn La Moresca
baked and smoked earth, pigments/wood
(30 x 20 x 13 cm)
"In the 17th century it was common to give lute pieces a suggestive title: often mythological names or names of people to whom the piece was dedicated. Sometimes also simply personifications such as 'L'Espérance' or names of animals 'La Poule' . " La Piémontaise' refers to a feminine beauty from Piémont, just as 'La Moresca' immediately brings to mind an African beauty. But ' La Moresca' is a dance - sometimes a Villanella-like song - that caricatured the Moors at the time when the advancing Islam posed a threat. By extension, it was also about the black African slaves present ('les esclaves'). It is a rhythmic dance, a dance with an exotic character because of the accented notes and staccato rhythms. Sometimes the dancers made their faces black and tied bells to their costumes. In some cases, men were disguised as women. The crazier the better. Europe during the Renaissance was crazy about it."