Rinaldo and Armida (1629) by Nicolas Poussin

Rinaldo and Armida - Nicolas Poussin - c.1625

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Artwork Information

TitleRinaldo and Armida
ArtistNicolas Poussin
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions80 x 107 cm
Art MovementClassicism
Current LocationDulwich Picture Gallery, London, UK

About Rinaldo and Armida

The artwork “Rinaldo and Armida” by Nicolas Poussin was created around 1625, exemplifying the principles of Classicism. This literary painting is executed in oil on canvas and measures 80 by 107 centimeters. It currently resides at the Dulwich Picture Gallery in London, United Kingdom.

The artwork portrays a scene imbued with a serene yet dramatic quality, characteristic of Poussin’s visual narrative style. It depicts the moment from Torquato Tasso’s epic poem “Jerusalem Delivered” where the enchantress Armida discovers the sleeping Rinaldo, a crusader knight. Armida, who had intended to slay the hero, finds herself overcome by his beauty and falls in love with him instead. In the painting, she is shown leaning tenderly over Rinaldo, who lies in a peaceful slumber, his armor partially removed, suggesting both his vulnerability and the cessation of conflict.

Adding to the composition’s emotional depth, a cherubic figure, perhaps a representation of Cupid or an allegory of the enchantress’s changing emotions, gently tugs at Armida’s arm, signaling the transformative power of love over hostility. The background features a tranquil landscape, providing a calming counterpoint to the intimate interaction between the figures. The mastery of Poussin is evident in the eloquent gestures, expressive faces, and the harmonious balance of form and color throughout the scene, all hallmarks of the Classical tradition in which he is firmly situated.

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