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Catherine De Medici biography
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Catherine placed high hopes in her son for the regeneration of France, but she was dissapointed.
Apart from her political role, Catherine was strongly influenced by her Medici family. She was a patron of the arts. Her interest in architecture was demonstrated in the building of the Louvre Museum, the construction of the Tuilleries Gardens, and the building of the Chateau Monceau. She also imported Italian artists, poets, musicians and dancing masters to the French court. As Queen and Queen Mother, she was actively involved in the planning of many of the court spectacles. As the Valois court spectacles developed over the years, they included more and more dance, to show the essence of peace and harmony. She is responsible for bringing culture to France including fine cooking and table manners (fork and table etiquette) and also ballet (Le Ballet Comique de la Reine). There are two reasons to credit this as the first ballet. It had a central theme that told a story. Sets, costumes, music and dialogue were all coordinated. She had artists to draw pictures and sent them to all courts of Europe. The world was so impressed that they tried create similar ballets. They also replaced their Italian ballet masters with those from France. This is how the language of ballet became French.
Catherine de Medici died in January 5, 1589 of pneumonia. It is said that she was strong enough to overcome illness, but her disappointment with her favourite son caused her to die of a broken heart.