Although most of the occasions for masques were rather frivolous, such as the celebration of a society wedding, Jonson made sure that his masques were full of Platonic meanings, mythological references and humanistic doctrines that would tax the knowledge of the most learned among the audience. Jones, on the other hand, let loose his prodigious knowledge of classical art, his impressive competence as a painter, and his unmatched creativeness in devising stunning stage scenery and elaborate costumes for the masques, which won the admiration of all discerning observers (Ibid. 26-28). Jones was also on the defensive since 'visual arts' such as architecture were, at the time, not given the same artistic status as literature and poetry. There was also an air of "self-importance" about Jones's personality that particularly irritated Jonson. As a result, Jonson considered Jones to be a complete fraud, and attacked him viciously at every opportunity, leading to a complete break in the partnership by 1631, after which Jonson did not write another masque for the court. Jones continued his work in collaboration with minor poets who, unlike Jones, were content to subordinate their art to his (Ibid. 47).
Relationship with Jonson
Inigo Jones enjoyed a surprisingly tempestuous relationship with Ben Jonson. The partnership of the two men that started so promisingly, resulting in the creation of a number of superb masque productions, ended in bitter acrimony. Their hostility is surprising because both men were of approximately the same age, of similar humble background, shared rare artistic genius in their respective fields, and were given much leeway by generous royal patrons to work harmoniously.
One of the reasons for the fall-out between the two was that Jonson took the intellectual content of his masques more seriously than anyone else. He was, by all accounts, convinced that the soul of the masque was of infinite value. He deeply resented the tendency at the time to accord greater respect to the decoration and the "mere mechanics" of a show (Lees-Milne 45). Jonson believed that Jones was getting more credit than he deserved for his contribution to the masque productions. His resentment towards his "friend" grew from "irritation to contempt to intense dislike" just as applause for Jones got louder (Ibid. 46-47).
Jones, on the other hand, refused to admit the superiority of ...
Inigo Jones." Britain Express. N.d. October 18, 2007. http://www.britainexpress.com/History/inigo-jones.htm
Inigo Jones (1573-1652)." Historic Figures: BBC.co.UK. 2007. October 18, 2007. http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/jones_inigo.shtml
Inigo Jones (1573 - c1652)." Greenwich 2000. July 07, 2006. October 18, 2007. http://wwp.greenwich2000.com/heritage/vip/architects/jones.htm
Lees-Milne, James. The Age of Inigo Jones. London B.T. Batsford, 1953
Inigo Jones again visited Italy in 1613 where he studied classical Roman and modern Renaissance architecture; he is said to have been deeply influenced by the Italian architect, Andrea Palladio.
Other notable masques produced by the Jones-Jonson duo include, Hymenaei (1606); Hue and Cry after Cupid (1608); Masque of Queens (1609); and Pleasure Reconciled to Virtue (1618)
Painting and carpentry," he once complained in bitter irony, "are the soul of masque." (Quoted by Lees-Milne…
Jones was also on the defensive since 'visual arts' such as architecture were, at the time, not given the same artistic status as literature and poetry. There was also an air of "self-importance" about Jones's personality that particularly irritated Jonson. As a result, Jonson considered Jones to be a complete fraud, and attacked him viciously at every opportunity, leading to a complete break in the partnership by 1631, after which Jonson did not write another masque for the court. Jones continued his work in collaboration with minor poets who, unlike Jones, were content to subordinate their art to his (Ibid. 47).
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