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Anthony van Dyck, Rinaldo and Armida

Key facts
Full title Rinaldo and Armida
Artist Anthony van Dyck
Artist dates 1599 - 1641
Date made 1634-5
Medium and support Oil on wood
Dimensions 57 × 41.5 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1871
Inventory number NG877.2
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
Rinaldo and Armida
Anthony van Dyck

The enchantress Armida and her bewitched lover, Rinaldo, a Christian knight, recline in a beautiful landscape, surrounded by attendant cupids. The scene shows a tender moment between the couple before Rinaldo’s comrades, whose helmets are visible behind the bush on the left, disturb their idyll and compel Rinaldo to return to fighting in the First Crusade (a Christian military campaign to recapture Jerusalem from Islamic rule).

This is an episode from Torquato Tasso’s epic tale of bewitching and love, La Gerusalemme liberate (1581), which was popular during the seventeenth century (an English translation, Jerusalem Delivered, was published in 1600). Another painting of the subject by Van Dyck (thought to be the picture now at the Baltimore Museum of Art) was acquired by King Charles I.

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