This impressive oil painting from 18th century
portrays the two lovers known as Armida and
Rinaldo. They are the protagonists of the epic poem
La Gerusalemme Liberata from the Italian writer
Torquato Tasso (1559-1580).
Armida, a Saracen sorceress, was sent to the Holy
Land in order stop the Christians succeeding in their
Her main duty was to kill Rinaldo- a Christian
soldier- but she fell in love with him instead. Armida
then creates an enchanted garden where to hold her
lover as prisoner. Rinaldo will escape from his
imprisonment with the help of two soldiers, who
hold a shield to his face so that he can remember
his identity by looking at his reflection.
This painting no doubt takes inspiration from the
famous version of the well-known Italian artist
Annibale Carracci (1560-1609).
Annibale was the first painter to work on the poem’s
famous love episode.
Together with his brother Agostino and his cousin
Ludovico he was one of the main contributors to the
development of the Baroque style in Italian art,
starting his own school of art in 1582 under the
name Accademia degli Incamminati.
This version depicts the moment when Armida
enchants Rinaldo, looking intensely into the mirror
that Rinaldo is holding.
The exquisite execution and the vibrant colors make
this painting an extraordinary example of the
technique used from 18th Century Italian school.