Gerusalemme liberata and the visual arts in England
in Tasso’s art and afterlives
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Torquato Tasso's epic poem was to prove an immediate and continued source of inspiration for musical settings and operatic adaptations. The landscape surrounding the lovers in the enchanted garden is certainly 'the most vividly pictorial passage of the Gerusalemme liberata'. Armida's unexpected transformation from avenger to lover is signalled visually by the presence in the top right of the canvas of a winged putto drawing back a bow to shoot. One aspect of Armida's love for Rinaldo in Tasso that is conveyed as strongly in Van Dyck's depiction is the fundamentally narcissistic nature of the desire. Visual representations of the lovers' dalliance in the garden in canto XVI virtually always include the enchantress's mirror. Uniquely in the visual representations of Rinaldo and Armida from canto XIV, Van Dyck chooses to depict the false siren.

Tasso’s art and afterlives

The Gerusalemme liberata in England

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