For more than a century, the Castle of Ventadour has been a major place of artistic and literary creation. A place where the trobar art developed itself and one of its most famous interpreters in the world emerged: Bernart de Ventadorn.
In Occitan, trobar means to find. Transformed into art, the trobar refers to poetry sung and accompanied by music. Lords and clerics are the ambassadors of the time, and the troubadours (trobador = finder), very often are the interpreters. They know how to write, compose music and sing, and speak Lemosina, the common Occitan language of the first troubadours.
The trobar and its compositions echoed throughout the Southwest (and from Limousin to Catalonia), and the troubadours (whose number is estimated to be between 350 and 450) had a place of honor in the courts of the time.
Through their songs, the troubadours reflect the major concerns of the time (war, religion, morality), but above all, highlight women and the expression of romantic feelings with the “fin’amor”.
From this art, the Castle of Ventadour became a cultural reference in the 12th century and radiated throughout the region. Precursor and first recognized troubadour, Guillaume IX of Aquitaine, powerful and great lord, even travels to Ventadour to meet Ebles II, viscount of Ventadour, nicknamed “lo cantador”. Thanks to Ebles II, the Castle of Ventadour became a renowned center of Occitan culture and saw many troubadours being educated within its walls, via its “escola N’Eblum” (the school of Ebles). One of the troubadour students of Ebles II will even mark this poetry in a timeless way: it is Bernart of Ventadorn.
His legacy is considerable. He leaves behind him about forty poems, including 20 accompanied by musical scores. He excels in fin’amor and takes care of melody, measure, the beauty of images and the intensity of emotions in his poetry. He is thus one of the most emblematic figures of the trobar art. Studied in many universities around the world, Bernart of Ventadour is a reference in medieval poetry.
But the trobar art is not only a matter of men. Troubadour women, the trobairitz, also marked this art and, at the same time, the history of Ventadour. Marie de Ventadour, wife of Ebles V, contributed to the fame of the site at the beginning of the 13th century. She was “the best and most noble lady that could be known in the whole world at that time” according to Gaulcem Faidit, a troubadour from Uzerche.