(b. 1655, Venezia, d. 1730, Villabona)

Rinaldo and Armida

c. 1690
Oil on canvas, 121 x 161 cm
Narodna galerija Slovenije, Ljubljana

The subject was inspired by the 16th-century epic poem 'Gerusalemme Liberata' (Jerusalem Delivered) by Torquato Tasso (1544-1595). Rinaldo and Armida are a pair of lovers in the poem which is an idealized account of the first Crusade which ended with the capture of Jerusalem in 1099 and the establishment of a Christian kingdom. Armida, a beautiful virgin witch, had been sent by Satan (whose aid the Saracens had enlisted0 to bring about the Crusaders' undoing by sorcery. She sought revenge on the Christian prince Rinaldo after he had rescued his companions whom she had changed into monsters. The pastoral story of hate turned of love, of the lovers' dalliance in Armida's magic kingdom, and Rinaldo's final desertion of her, forms a sequence of themes that were widely popular with Italian and French artists in the 17th and 18th centuries.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.