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Agenda Cultural

 

Don-Juan

Lope had affairs with eleven women, in addition to his two wives. The length and intensity of those affairs varies, some were more casual, while others deeply affected the poet and are greatly present in his work.

María de Aragón, unmarried. 1580. Apparently, he had a daughter with her, Manuela (January 1581- August 1585).

Elena Osorio, married to the actor Cristóbal Calderón. Lope had a relationship with her that lasted for four years (between 1583 and 1587). When Elena Osorio left him, the poet took it very badly and wrote libels about her and her family. It was for those writings that he was condemned to exile.

Unknown Portuguese lover. 1588.

Antonia Trillo de Armenta, widow. 1596.  The relationship with this rich, attractive women, who ran a gaming house in the Plaza de Matute, was the reason for another indictment, this time for public cohabitation.

Micaela de LujánActress, she was married to the actor and representative Diego Díaz, who lived in Peru and with whom she already had two daughters when she met Lope in 1598. Their relationship lasted nine years, until 1607, and they had four children, two of them when she was still married to Diego Díaz, and two more after she was widowed: Marcela and Lope Félix. Of all of them, Lope Félix, is the only one who is registered in the baptism records as son of Lope de Vega Carpio and Micaela de Luján. The actress lived first in Toledo and then in Seville (where Lope spent time between 1602 and 1604). However, she returned to Toledo where Marcela was born. She ended up living in Madrid. There, in 1607, the poet rented a house on Calle del Fúcar, which was the family home. This was close to the house on Calle de Francos (today Lope de Vega House Museum), where Juana de Guardo and his children later moved.
The affair with Micaela de Luján ended after the birth of Lope Félix and with it any reference to it in his work. The couple’s last two children, Marcela and Lope Félix, took care of their father in 1614.
Micaela de Luján is present in Lope’s work, where she appears with the name Camila Lucinda. Of extraordinary beauty, she was, nonetheless, uncivilized, too illiterate even to sign a document, so that the poet only had praise for her blue eyes, her hair, her white hands…
“Belleza singular, ingenio raro, 
fuera del natural curso del cielo,
Etna de amor, que de tu mismo hielo
despides llamas, entre mármol Paro.
Sol de hermosura, entendimiento claro,
alma dichosa en cristalino velo,
norte del mar, admiración del suelo,
émula al sol, como a la luna el faro;
milagro del autor de cielo y tierra,
bien de naturaleza el más perfecto,
Lucinda hermosa en quien mi luz se encierra:
nieve en blancura y fuego en el efecto,
paz de los ojos y del alma guerra,
dame a escribir, como a penar, sujeto”.
, married to the actor and representative  Diego Díaz. Lope had a nine-year relationship with this actress (1598 – 1607), with whom he had a surprising four children.

Unknown lover from Valencia. 1599. He had one son with her, Fernando Pellicer or Friar Vicente.

Jerónima de Burgos, married to the playwright Pedro de Valdés. Lope had a very close relationship with her beginning in 1607. Their affair was sporadic, but they also enjoyed a close professional relationship and friendship. Jerónima was actually the godmother at Lope Félix baptism, one of the sons the poet had with Micaela de Luján.

Lucía de Salcedo. 1616. She was also an actress, known as “the crazy woman from Naples.” She was the first lady of Hernán Sánchez de Vargas’ company of actors. 

Unknown lover. Another actress who chased Lope, until making him flee Madrid for Toledo.

Unknown lover. Although there is no information on this woman, we know that the poet had a son with her, Friar Luis de la Madre de Dios.

Marta de Nevares SantoyoMarta de Nevares met Lope before she was 25 years old and he was in his sixties and had been ordained a priest. Married since the age of 13 to Roque Hernández, a very crude and much older trader and businessman, she had two children from this marriage.
The couple met at a poet’s party, in a garden in Madrid, where apparently, the poet surrendered before the lady’s overwhelming beauty. (“Sus ojos verdes, la perfecta nariz, las manos y pies pequeñitos, cejas y pestañas negras, cabellos rizos y copiosos, boca que pone en cuidado los que la miran cuando ríe, gentileza de cuerpo, inteligencia viva, ingenio, habilidad en tañer instrumentos musicales y en escribir con facilidad literatura...”). That encounter marked the beginning of a lasting and very passionate, although complicated and painful relationship. Their love remained strong until 1632, when Marta died. The story of this love affair is marked by the decision of the lovers to confront the cruel and evil words of the court. They were surrounded by the unfriendly gossip regarding their difference in age, Marta’s marriage and Lope’s priesthood. Of course, the birth of the child Antonia Clara was the cause of rumors, but she was finally registered as the legitimate daughter of Marta de Nevares’ husband.
In 1621, Marta, who lived with Lope in the house on the today-named Calle Cervantes (Lope de Vega House Museum) became gravely ill. She first went blind and then went crazy. The poet, destroyed, cared for her until the last moment in 1632. She was his great love and he dedicated many verses of his work to her. Marta de Nevares, given the nicknames Marcia Leonarda and Amarilis, appeared in eclogues and plays, where Lope de Vega made his love known. (“No quedó sin llorar pájaro en nido, / pez en el agua ni en el monte fiera, /...y es la locura de mi amor tan fuerte, / que pienso que lloró también la muerte”).
married since the age of 13 to Roque Hernández, a very crude and much older trader and businessman. Young Marta de Nevares was not yet 25 when she met Lope, who was then in his sixties and had been ordained a priest. She was the writer’s final lover and one of his great loves. 

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cinturon-dijes

Lope de Vega had, from his two marriages and the relationships with his lovers, seventeen children: twelve daughters and five sons. Ten of them died in early chilhoodThe figures for infant mortality, as with the figures of the number of women who died in childbirth during the 16th and 17th century, were very high. The primary causes were the lack of hygiene, poor nutrition in mothers and children and infectious diseases. There were numerous epidemics during that time, typhus in 1557, catarrh in 1580, the Atlantic plague of 1592-1602 and, of course, hunger.

The poet had a close relationship with the children born from his marriage to Juana de Guardo: Carlos Félix, whose premature death deeply affected him, and Feliciana, his only heir. He also had a close relationship with Marcela and Lope Félix, who at the ages of eight and six respectively, went to live with him and Feliciana in the house on Calle de Francos. His daughter Antonia Clara (of Marta de Nevares) also lived there.

His daughter Marcela became a nun in the Convent of the Trinitarias, very close to the house on Calle de Francos (Lope de Vega House Museum). This was a very different life from the one chosen by his daughter Antonia Clara, who at the age of seventeen, was seduced by a gentleman and ran away from home.

  • Children from different lovers:

    Manuela (1581-1585). Daughter of María de Aragón. Died before reaching the age of five.

    Fernando Pellicer, Friar Vicente (1599). Son of a Valencian woman.

    Friar Luis de la madre de Dios (?). Son of an unknown lover.

  • Children from his first wife, Isabel de Urbina:

    Antonia (1589-1594). Died at the age of five.

    Teodora (1594-1596). Died at the age of two.

  • Children from his second wife, Juana de Guardo:

    Jacinta (1599-?). Died as an infant.

    Juana (1604). Stillborn.

    Carlos Félix (1605-1612). Died at age seven.

    Feliciana (1613- ?). Married. Lope named her heir in his will.

  • Children with Micaela de Luján

    Juan and Félix. It is believed that none of them, of which there is very little information, reached adulthood.

    Marcela (1605-?). She went to live with Lope at the age of eight, she was his favorite daughter, in 1623 she was ordained nun in the Trinitarias.

    Lope Félix (1607-1634). At the age of ten he went to live in Lope's house. He made a few attempts at being a poet and finally enlisted as a soldier. Apparently, he died on the coasts of Venezuela.

  • Children with Marta de Nevares

    Antonia Clara (1617-1664). She ran away with her boyfriend at the age of seventeen while living in her father's house (the house museum), taking clothes and jewelry with her.

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Lope was and was not a Don Juan. The poet was not a shameless cynic, he was not a Don Juan like Leónido in his work La fianza satisfechaIt is believed that Tirso de Molina's El burlador de Sevilla y convidado de piedra, is inspired by the works El Infamador, by Juan de la Cueva, and Lope de Vega's La fianza satisfecha. There are some specialists who also ascertain that Tirso was inspired by the life of Lope and by one specific event, when Cristóbal Tenorio, protégé of the Count-duke of Olivares, kidnapped Antonia Clara, daughter of Lope and Marta de Nevares, when she was seventeen. The young woman probably acquiesced voluntarily to running away., he was rather a passionate man, who fell in love easily and who lived his love relationships to the fullest, he 'told' in all of his works. And this was in the time when el honor y la honraEl honor and la honra (honor and purity) are highly appreciated values in the Golden Age and are so reflected in a large number of the dramatic works by Lope, Tirso, Calderón... (honor and purity) were protagonists on the stages. Society during the Golden Age was certainly not as devout as believed to be or as it appeared.

Philip II commissioned the Inquisition to erase the idea that fornication was not a sin and said it would be severely punished. In 1565 the King addressed the justice of Valencia: "... there are several lay persons, married and single, who live profanely and have public concubines, (...) we order you to provide the best way for those who are sinning to be punished as an example. "

So much attention to these affairs and so many repressive decrees leads one to believe that extramarital sex was fairly extended at the time, in which prostitution was, for all, but especially for the Spanish aristocracy, a frequent practice ("There is no one who does not have a lover or who has not fallen into a prostitute's web of love." Brunel).

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 Fachada-alcala-henares

In Lope's time, only a handful of privileged people had access to a good education. The rest of the people, that is to say, the majority of the population, were illiterate. With his humble origins, Lope de Vega was destined to a manual trade, just as his father (master embroiderer). Nevertheless, the effort he put into his studies as a young boy encouraged his family to give him an education.
It is believed that the writer and musician Vicente Espinel taught him to read and write in Spanish and translate Latin, something Lope was able to do since the age of ten. And it was his uncle, the Inquisitor of Seville and friend of the Jesuits who helped his parents get the boy into the Imperial School of Madrid in 1572 or 1573. He remained there until 1576.

In the Compañía de Jesús schools, the students performed plays on religious holidays. So it would be logical to think that when Lope mentioned the plays he wrote when he was eleven or twelve, he was referring to these school plays. He also studied Grammar and Latin and he received classes in Geography, History, Mathematics, Philosophy and Rhetoric in Latin. All of this as a boarding student.

Later, Lope went to the Alcalá de Henares University, where all classes were also in Latin and where the studies were difficult: he studied up to nine hours a day, under strict disciplinary rules. After Alcalá, Lope studied for a short time at the University of Salamanca.

At the age of twenty-four, he began to study Mathematics and Astrology with Juan Bautista Labaña, Philip II's chief cosmographer and founder of the Mathematics Academy of Madrid. He also studied liberal arts with the master Father Juan de Córdoba.

Untiringly studious his whole life, Lope studied reading and writing in the mornings, and it is very possible that in the library of the study in the house on Francos he had Polianteas, mythologies and an edition of Ravisius Textor's Officina, a prestigious reference book of the time with mythological and astrological references, quotes and information, allegories and other oddities.

Lope was very interested in painting and was friends with some painters of the time,
Pantoja de la Cruz, his father-in-law Diego de Urbina, Vincenzo Cardoso, Pedro de Guzmán and Francisco Ribalta. It is also well know that he admired Rubens. "Two things awoke my cravings,

"Que no es hombre el que no hace bien a nadie
Dos cosas despertaron mis antojos,
extrajeras, no al alma, a los sentidos;
Marino, gran pintor de los oídos,
y Rubens, gran poeta de los ojos.
Marino, fénix ya de sus despojos,
yace en Italia resistiendo olvidos;
Rubens, los héroes del pincel vencidos,
da gloria a Flandes y a la envidia enojos.
Mas ni de aquél la pluma, o la destreza
déste con el pincel pintar pudieran
un hombre que, pudiendo, a nadie ayuda.
Porque es tan desigual naturaleza,
que cuando a retratalle se atrevieran,
ser hombre o fiera, les pusiera en duda.

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