Armida Encounters the Sleeping Rinaldo

Large painting of soldier asleep outdoors surrounded by two women and a cupid.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • Large painting of soldier asleep outdoors surrounded by two women and a cupid.

Date:

1742/45

Artist:

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo
Italian, 1696–1770

About this artwork

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo’s monumental ceiling and wall decorations epitomize the brilliant exuberance of the late Baroque style. Tiepolo enjoyed an international career and was called upon to use his mastery of light, color, and illusion to transform palaces and monasteries in his native Venice and elsewhere in Italy, as well as in Germany and Spain. This painting and three others at the Art Institute, together with smaller decorative panels and a ceiling painting, once graced the cabinet of mirrors, a richly decorated room in the Venetian palace of the powerful Cornaro family. The suite illustrates Torquato Tasso’s popular sixteenth-century epic romance Jerusalem Delivered, which is set in the eleventh century, during the First Crusade, when Western knights sought to take Jerusalem from the Muslims. The canvas captures the moment of Rinaldo’s seduction: the beautiful sorceress Armida has just arrived to divert the sleeping hero from his crusade. Accompanied by her attendant nymph and a cupid figure, she appears like a beautiful mirage, enthroned on a billowing cloud, her drapery and shawl wafting gently behind her. Altough Tasso’s story symbolizes the conflict between love and duty, Tiepolo’s depiction of a magical, bucolic world—enhanced by effervescent colors, luminous atmosphere, and dense, creamy paint—seems to evoke only love’s enchantment.

On View

European Painting and Sculpture, Gallery 215

Artist

Giambattista Tiepolo

Title

Armida Encounters the Sleeping Rinaldo

Origin

Italy

Date

1742–1745

Medium

Oil on canvas

Dimensions

187.5 × 216.8 cm (73 13/16 × 85 3/8 in.)

Credit Line

Bequest of James Deering

Reference Number

1925.700

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email .

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