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Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, 'Angelica saved by Ruggiero', 1819-39

Key facts
Full title Angelica saved by Ruggiero
Artist Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres
Artist dates 1780 - 1867
Date made 1819-39
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 47.6 × 39.4 cm
Inscription summary Signed
Acquisition credit Bought, 1918
Inventory number NG3292
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
Angelica saved by Ruggiero
Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres

The scene shown here is taken from an episode in the sixteenth-century epic poem Orlando Furioso, by Ludovico Ariosto. The Christian knight Ruggiero has discovered the pagan princess Angelica, who has been abducted by barbarians. Stripped and chained to a rock, she has been left as a sacrifice to a sea monster. Riding a hippogriff – a legendary half-horse, half-griffin beast that can both gallop and fly – Ruggiero saves Angelica by plunging his lance into the monster’s open jaws.

Ingres had previously painted a larger version of this story in 1819 for the Throne Room at the Palace of Versailles. In this smaller version, he emphasises the drama by reducing the seascape setting and placing the monster between Ruggiero and Angelica. He highlights the danger Angelica faces by contrasting her smooth, pale body with the hard armour and rocks and the sharp lance, griffin’s beak and talons, and the monster’s teeth.

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