Juan de Tassis, 2nd Count of Villamediana
Don Juan de Tassis y Peralta, 2nd Count of Villamediana, (es: Don Juan de Tassis y Peralta, segundo conde de Villamediana; 1582 – 21 August 1622), was a Spanish poet. In Spain he is simply known as Conde de Villamediana.
Villamediana was born at Lisbon towards the end of 1582. His father, Juan de Tassis y Acuña, 1st Count of Villamediana, upon whom the title of count was conferred by king Felipe III of Spain in 1603, was a diplomat heading the Spanish legation who signed the Treaty of London, May 1604.
On leaving Salamanca he married in 1601, and succeeded to the title on the death of his father in 1607; he was prominent in the life of the capital, was forbidden to attend court, and resided in Italy from 1611 to 1617.
On Villmediana's return to Spain, he was soon noted as a satirist. Prominent men such as the Duke of Lerma, Rodrigo Calderón, Count of Oliva and Jorge de Tobar were frequent targets. Villamediana was once more ordered to withdraw from court in 1618. He returned on the death of Philip III and was appointed gentleman-in-waiting to Philip IV's young wife, Elisabeth of France, daughter of Henri IV.
A fire broke out while Villamediana's masque, La gloria de Niquea, was being acted before the court on the May 14, 1622, and he carried the queen to a place of safety. Suspicion deepened; Peralta neglected a significant warning that his life was in peril, and "he was murdered as he stepped out of his coach. The responsibility for his death was divided between Philip IV and Olivares" (at the time, Prime Minister and King's favorite) [according to whom?].
A subsequent forensic investigation found that he had been a "proven sodomite", and is likely to have frequented the homosexual as well as heterosexual brothels run by individuals close to the court. He was also the subject of homophobic innuendo in a satirical poem by Quevedo
Villamediana's works, first published at Saragossa in 1629, contain both his satirical and more serious verses.
- Fitzmaurice-Kelly 1911.
- Spanish Writers on Gay and Lesbian Themes: David William Foster, page 12, 1999
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Fitzmaurice-Kelly, James (1911). "Villamediana, Count de". In Chisholm, Hugh. Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
- Kusche Zettelmeyer, Maria, Juan Pantoja de la Cruz, Madrid, 1964. A hard and successful woman researcher on 16th century painters Italian woman Sofonisba Anguissola, Juan Pantoja de la Cruz and Alonso Sanchez Coello.
- Maria Kusche Zettelmeyer, Juan Pantoja de la Cruz y sus seguidores, Bartolomé González, Rodrigo de Villandrando y Antonio López Polanco . Fundación de Apoyo a la Historia del Arte Hispánico, 2007. ISBN 978-84-935054-2-4