Olga's Gallery

Vasiliy Polenov

Le droit du Seigneur.

1874. Oil on canvas. The Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia. Read Note.

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