Artibus et Historiae no. 82 (XLI)

2020, ISSN 0391-9064

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ANETA GEORGIEVSKA-SHINE - ‘A nymph, a goddess, or a fairy queen’: Van Dyck and the Poetics of Conversion in Rinaldo and Armida (pp. 267–285)

While Rubens is often seen as the Northern heir of Titian, that qualifier is certainly no less true of Anthony van Dyck, especially in works such as Rinaldo and Armida (1629). This ambitious poesia based on Tasso’s Gerusalemme Liberata (1581) was commissioned to celebrate the marriage between the future King of England, Charles I, and the French Princess Henrietta Maria. As such, it allowed the brilliant young artist to demonstrate both his remarkable technical accomplishments and his conceptual sophistication. Aware of the high regard for Titian at the English court, he suffused his composition with motifs deriving from a number of famous paintings by the Venetian master, especially those he had studied during his sojourn in Italy and recorded in his ‘Italian Sketchbook’. Yet, rather than a lifeless mosaic of borrowings, Rinaldo and Armida is a richly textured painting whose imaginative syncretism accords with the poetic language of Tasso – as well as that of the poets at the English court influenced by him.

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