Josquin des Prez; Ave Maria (1450)

Josquin des Prez, also named Josquin Lebloitte, is known as one of the greatest composers of the Renaissance. He was born around 1450 and while the specific location is speculated, he is said to be born in Condé-sur-l’Escaut; near the border of Belgium and France. Much is not known about the beginning of his life, but he was a choirboy for various counts and is known for singing for the Duke René of Anjou in 1477 in Provence. Josquin later returned to Condé, France in 1483 to inherit the estate of his aunt and uncle. Throughout his life, Josquin traveled to different cities in Italy because he was hired to sing by various courts. Josquin is recognized for composing motets, chansons, and masses. Of his most famous motets is Ave Maria - virgo serena, published c. 1484. For this motet, Josquin uses a combination of imitative polyphony and homophony. He composed Ave Maria while serving in a Milanese court. In 1489, Josquin was a part of the papal choir in Rome and it was during this time that he was influenced by Italian secular music and this determined some of his later work. Josquin also composed some of his greatest pieces, such as, Miserere and Hercules Dux Ferrariae while he resided in Ferrara, Italy in 1503. He spent the last years of his life as the provost of a collegiate church in Notre Dame and he was eventually buried there in 1521. Ultimately, Josquin’s polyphonic compositions had a long-lasting impact on music during the Renaissance and his music continues to be made known today. 


“Josquin Des Prez.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.,


Sadie, Stanley, and John Tyrrell. The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. 2nd ed., Grove, 2001.


“Search Media.” Wikimedia Commons,

Associated Place(s)

Event date:

circa. 1450 to circa. The end of the month Summer 1521