|The Life and Times of Jean-Baptiste “Moliere” Poquelin
The 17th century is noted for being a period of extravagance and power for the French Monarchy. King Louis XIII and Cardinal Richelieu transformed France's feudal monarchy to an absolute monarchy. Louis XIV, however, is the French king most associated with this period. Also known as the Sun King, Louis strengthened his own power by keeping all the local princes and lords occupied with the elaborate court life at his palace at Versailles. This period is also known for the genius of the writers, architects and musicians who were promoted by the royal court. Unfortunately, Louis' extravagance, in particular Louis XIV's endless wars, was expensive, and would leave much of France in financial peril by the end of his reign.
1622- January 15, Jean-Baptiste Poquelin is born
1623- Galileo publishes L’Assayer
1624- French painter Poussin moves to Rome to study sculpture.
1627- Claude follows Poussin to Rome, where Poussin paints Sleeping Nymph Surprised by Satyrs
1628- Phillipe de Champaigne appointed royal painter to Marie de Medicis
1630- Poussin developes antiquarian interests in Rome. First microscopic photos of insects published by Francesco Stalluti.
1632- Jean Baptiste’s mother passes away. Galileo publishes his ideas about the universe. First textbook of surgical pathology published by Marco Aurelio Severino.
1633- Claude discovers his distinctive landscape style in Rome.
1636 France enters the Thirty Years' War against Spain and the Holy Roman Empire.
1637- Playwright Pierre Corneille presents El Cid, the first in a series of great French tragedies.
1638- Jean-Baptiste studies at the Clermont Jesuit College, followed by a brief career in law
1639 Works by the philosopher, mathematician and scientist Rene Descartes have entered Dutch universities. Descartes rejects relying on authorities regarding idea
1642- Jean-Baptiste follows his father’s footsteps as a tapestry maker for Louise XIII. King Charles I is in conflict with his Calvinist and Puritan subjects and with Parliament. Civil war has erupted.
1643- King Louis XIII dies, and Jean-Baptiste co-founds L’Illustre Theatre. Louise XIV is made king.
1644- Jean-Baptiste chooses pen-name of Moliere
1645- Moliere imprisoned twice for debts
1646- First French opera, Akebar roi du Mogol, performed at Carpentras.
1648- European powers fighting the Thirty Years' War, are exhausted. The war ends with a realization of the need for more tolerance between Catholics and Protestants. Laurent Le Hyre is one of twelve founding professors at the French academy of painting and sculpture.
1649- King Charles I and his army have been defeated. Charles is beheaded. England is a republic.
1650- Descartes dies. French grammarian Vaugelas, to whom Moliere refers in The Learned Ladies, also dies this year.
1651 Thomas Hobbes publishes The Leviathan.
1653- Jean-Baptiste Lully enters King’s service as dancer and composer of ballets. He also composed music for several of Moliere’s plays.
1654- Moliere’s first play, L’Etourdi, opens in Lyon
1656- Moliere’s Le Depit Amoureux opens in Beziers
1658- Present Nicomede and Le Docteur Amoureux for King Loiuse XIV, gaining Moliere the patronage of the King’s younger brother
1659- Moliere’s Les Precieuses Ridicules causes both delight and offence. His younger brother dies and Moliere takes over the family tapestry business, which he keeps til his death. The same year, he presents Sganarelle ou le Cocu Imaginaire.
1660 England's parliament restores the monarchy to the eldest son of Charles I, Charles II.
1661- Moliere’s L’Ecole Des Maris opens with great success
1662- Moliere follows with the success of L’Ecole des Femmes. The same year, Moliere marries Armande Bejart and is accepted with his troup into the King’s court.
1664- Moliere’s Tartuffe is performed for the king at Versailles, but public performance is delayed because of opposition from the establishment. The same year Moliere’s son, Louise, is born, to die before his first birthday. France establishes companies in East and West India.
1665- Moliere premiers Don Juan as Armande gives birth to a baby girl. The troupe also presents two of Racine’s plays. The same year, another war between the English and Dutch has begun. English soldiers seize the town of New Amsterdam and rename it New York after the king's brother, the Duke of York!
1666- Moliere premiers Le Misanthrope and Le Medicine Malgre Lui
1667- The troupe premier Moliere’s L’Impostuer as well as producing Corneille’s Atilla. This year Moliere first experiences deterioration in his health. Racine opens Andromoque the same year. The first blood transfusion also takes place in Paris.
1668- Moliere’s L’Avare, based on a play of Plautus, opens, as well as Amphitryon and George Dandin.
1670- Moliere’s Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme opens.
1671- Moliere opens Les Fourberies de Scapin and Psyche
1672- Les Femmes Savantes opens. Moliere’s second son is born and dies shortly after baptism. The same year, Charles II joins Louis XIV of France in another war against the Dutch.
1673- February, Moliere suffers a coughing fit during a performance of his final play Le Malade Imaginiare and dies a few hours after the curtain falls of tuberculosis.