Claude-François Ménestrier

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Claude-François Ménestrier

Claude-François Ménestrier (9 March 1631 – 21 January 1705) was a French heraldist, a member of the Society of Jesus [Jesuit], and attendant of the royal court.

Ménestrier was born in Lyon. He composed numerous books on heraldry, in which he was one of the greatest authorities of his age, the professor of the colleges in Chambéry, Vienne, Grenoble, and Lyon. During 1669-70 he traveled to Germany and Italy, but reached Paris and lived there to his death. He was the most widely known heraldist of his time, and was from 1622 in close correspondence with Philipp Jakob Spener, the founder of the German scientific heraldry who refused the merely symbolic interpretation of arms. Ménestrier maintained that we can know the essence of heraldry only from the sources from the age of living heraldry but he was also influenced by the heraldic view of his age. Thus, his researches were abortive.

Ménestrier's essays "On Ancient and Modern Musical Productions" (Des Représentations en musique anciennes et modernes, 1681) and "On Ancient and Modern Ballets, After The Rules of Theatre" (Des Ballets anciens et modernes selon les règles du théâtre, 1682) were influential in the development of ballet as a dramatic concert dance style capable of expressing a wide range of emotion and narrating a complex story, drawing upon accounts of ancient Roman pantomime.[1]

Ménestrier was also a numismatist and antiquary. In 1689 he published his Histoire du Roy Louis le Grand par les médailles. emblêmes, devises, jettons, inscriptions, armoiries, et autres monumens publics. The book was the first antiquarian history of a modern individual, and largely used medals drawn from the collection of Père François de la Chaise. It also covered jettons and heraldic devices.[2]

Unfortunately for Ménestrier a pirated 1691 Dutch edition included five pages of anti-Louis medals, harming Ménestrier's position at court.



  1. ^ Alessandra Zanobi, Ancient Pantomime and its Reception, Oxford University Archive of Performances of Greek and Roman Drama [1]
  2. ^ Robert Wellington - Antiquarianism and the Visual Histories of Louis XIV Artifacts for a Future Past (Routledge, 2015) pp. 128-134

External links[edit]

  • PD-icon.svg Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Claude-François Menestrier". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  • Claude-François Ménestrier on French Wikipedia
  • Ella Hassett, Library Assistant, The Edward Worth Library, Dublin - LOUIS XIV’S MEDALS (the book referred to in this article may be the pirated Dutch edition, though the article does not say this)