Robert de Visée

Robert de Visée (ca. 1655 – 1732/33) was a lutenist, guitarist, theorbist and viol player at the court of Louis XIV, as well as a singer, and composer for lute, theorbo and guitar.


Robert de Visée's origin is unknown, although a Portuguese origin of his surname had been suggested. He was likely to have studied with Francesco Corbetta. He was first mentioned in 1680, and at about that time became a chamber musician to Louis XIV, in which capacity he often performed at court. He was appointed in 1709 as a singer in the royal chamber, and in 1719 he was named "Guitar Master of the King" (Maître de Guitare du Roi). Rousseau reported in a letter of 1688 that he was a respected musician at Versailles, and also played the viol (Strizich and Ledbetter 2001).
Visée published two books of guitar music which contained twelve suites between them, as well as a few isolated pieces: Livre de guitare dédié au roi (Paris, 1682) and Livre de pièces pour la guitare (Paris 1686). He composed many suites of pieces for theorbo and Baroque lute (the bulk of which are preserved in the Saizenay Ms.), as well as a collection of ensemble pieces.