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Work Rinaldo and Armida
Department of Paintings: French painting
Rinaldo and Armida
© 1997 RMN / Jean-Gilles Berizzi
The artist's 1734 admission piece for the Academy, this painting is inspired by Tasso's Gerusalemme liberata, a romantic poem of the First Crusade. Armida holds Rinaldo captive in her enchanted palace. Arriving to rescue their companion are Carlo and Ubaldo: hidden at right, they surprise him love-stricken at the feet of the enchantress.
The moment of love
Boucher chose the moment when Rinaldo's two friends - visible at the right between two columns of the ruined temple - find him still in his armor but captivated by Armida's beauty. At right, Cupid aims an arrow at Rinaldo, evoking the ties of love that now bind the young crusader to the enchantress Armida.
Under a spell
The story recounted in this painting is taken from an episode in Tasso's Gerusalemme liberata, first published in 1581. On his way to Jerusalem the crusader Rinaldo is seduced by the young Saracen Armida, who is vexed at having conquered the hearts of all the crusaders except one: Rinaldo. By means of a spell she finally succeeds in ensnaring him, and thereafter keeps him prisoner of her charms. But Armida is then torn between the genuine love she feels for the young man and her fury at having to resort to spells. Two of Rinaldo's friends, Carlo and Ubaldo, make a rescue attempt. The ruined architecture, which serves as the setting, represents the enchanted palace where Armida keeps Rinaldo captive.
An admission piece
This painting is Boucher's 1734 admission piece for the Royal Academy. The work remained in the Academy collections throughout the 18th century and eventually entered the Muséum Central des Arts de la République, which would later become the Louvre.
François BOUCHER (Paris, 1703 - Paris, 1770)
Rinaldo and Armida
H. 1.35 m; W. 1.70 m
Collection of the Académie
The painters of Louis XV
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