Oil painting on canvas, Rinaldo and Armida by Charles de la Fosse (1636-1716). Rinaldo, a Christian Prince or crusading knight and Armida, a Saracen sorceress, are a pair of lovers from the Italian epic poem on the subject of the Crusades, Gerusalemme Liberata (Jerusalem Delivered) by Torquato Tasso (1544-1595). The subject here is Armida and the sleeping Rinaldo when, during his search for a magical island on the River Orontes in Syria, Rinaldo falls into an enchanted sleep. Armida discovers him, meaning to kill him, but falls in love with him instead. Rinaldo is seen lying underneath some trees with his head on a cushion, his armour and a leopard skin laid to one side. He holds a spear in his left hand. Armida, with long blonde hair and blue cloak, kneels beside him. She is accompanied by two female attendants. Three putti fly above the head of Rinaldo, carrying off his helmet, shield and sword. A fourth points to Rinaldo. A landscape with distant hills can be seen at the far left. This painting forms one of a pair with L/BAS/P/5, The Rape of Europa, also by Charles de la Fosse.
Painted for Ralph, first Duke of Montagu for Montagu House, Bloomsbury, 1689-91, probably for staircase ( (in the 1709 inventory as 'In ye Great closet/ 2 great picture of Urope by Lafosse') and Montagu House Inventory 1735 no.20; presumably moved to Boughton House on the sale of Montagu House to the Trustees of the British Museum in 1754; Boughton House Inventory 1827 No.164 & Boughton House 1829 (copied 1910) in the Vestublum as no. 14, 'Mars and Venus; sold Sotheby's 20 July 1955, lot 49 as 'Mars and Venus'; bought Colnaghi; accepted in 1998 by HM Treasury in lieu of Inheritance Tax from the estate of Lord Iliffe
Makers and roles
Charles de la Fosse (Paris 1636 – Paris 1716), artist
Hedley 20012 Jo Hedley, "Charles de la Fosse's 'Rinaldo and Armida' and Rape of Europa' at Basildon Park", vol. CXLIV, number 1189, April 2002, pp.204 - 212, illus. front cover