Giovanni Battista Pignatelli
Giambattista Pignatelli was an early sixteenth-century Italian riding master who had influence on the development of dressage. He was one of three influential masters of the Napolese school. The term "Napolese School" did not refer to the modern day city of Naples, but to the southern part of Italy, including Sicily. The Napolese masters who had the most lasting influence on modern training were Pignatelli- his particular area of influence is largely in the work of training the horse in the pillars, Federico Grisone, who wrote "Gli Ordini di Cavalcare" (1571) Google books now has Grisone's book available on line,. And Caesar Fiaschi, writing "Trattato dell'imbrigliare, atteggiare, & ferrare cavalli," in which he equated equitation with music and published not only training notes but musical scores to accompany the training. This book is also available through Google books, These three masters of the Neapolitan school were highly influential for three reasons: first, European nobility was, at this time, sending their sons to the Italian schools for an education, thus, these masters mentored students from aristocratic families from all over Europe. Second, these three masters published written material about their work, and Grisone's treatise particularly was translated in many different languages- his work on the Napolese ideas was an early and very influential "best seller". And third, Pignatelli's student Antoine de Pluvinel was commissioned by the French court to establish a riding school in France. Thus, Pignatelli was instrumental in beginning the French 'Golden Age of Equitation', an era of state supported the exploration of training as a high art that would last for two hundred years, until that aristocratic focus was ended by the French revolution.
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