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Vasiliy Polenov. Le droit du Seigneur. 1874. Oil on canvas. The Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia. More. [Order a Print][Order a Hand-Painted Reproduction]

Vasiliy Polenov. Le droit du Seigneur.
Le droit du Seigneur, the right of a lord, is the old medieval right of a lord to spend the first night with a newlywed girl from his serfs. Although serfdom was abolished, the right itself, though seldom used, remained in force until the late 18th century; the intrigue of the famous play La Folle Journee ou le marriage de Figaro (1784) by Beaumarchais, better known through the opera by Rossini, is based on this custom

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