François Boucher (1703 – 1770): Rinaldo and Armida, 17345/19/2021, 9:05:17 AM
François Boucher (1703 – 1770): Rinaldo and Armida, 1734, Oil on canvas, 135,5 x 170,5 cm, Musée du Louvre, Paris This painting is Boucher's 1734 admission piece for the Royal Academy. The subject was inspired by the 16th-century epic poem 'Gerusalemme Liberata' (Jerusalem Delivered) by Torquato Tasso (1544-95). 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. 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. 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. 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.