Armida About To Kill Sleeping Rinaldo

Simon Vouet

French, 1590 - 1649

Manufactory of Raphael de la Planche

French, active 1629 - 1661

Armida About to Kill Sleeping Rinaldo, ca. 1633-1637

  • On View

Wool and silk (modern cotton lining)

Dimensions: 177 × 125 in. (449.6 × 317.5 cm)

Gift of Viola E. Bray, 2005.124.1

This tapestry shows the arrival of Armida, the Saracen sorceress, ready to murder the defenseless Christian knight Rinaldo with a knife. She hesitates, however, when she gazes upon his face and finds herself enchanted by his masculine beauty. Despite her anger and disdain, she falls in love with the reclining figure. A supporting cast of characters helps to tell the tale: winged Zephyr, god of the gentle west wind, hovers in the air with a siren (half woman, half fish, who seduces men with her song). She points to the sleeping Rinaldo with a rod, while an armed Cupid kneels on the ground below with his arrow aimed at Armida’s heart.

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