Tasso, Torquato (1544-95), Italian
poet, author of a romantic epic Rinaldo (1562), a pastoral
play very popular in his time, Aminta (1573); the epic poem
Delivered (150-81) about the first crusade. The subjects from his
works were used by the artists.
Armida in Tasso’s Jerusalem Delivered, is a powerful enchantress. She offered her service to the defenders of Jerusalem when it was besieged by the Christians under Godfrey de Bouillon; visiting the Christian camp she lured away by her beauty many of the principal knights. She inveigled them by magic power into a delicious garden, where they were overcome by apathy and pleasant half dream. Among her captives were Renaud (or Rinaldo) of Este and Tancred.
See: Nicolas Poussin. Renaud and Armide, Renaud and Armide.
Anthony van Dyck. Rinaldo and Armida.
Jean-Honoré Fragonard. Rinaldo in the Enchanted Forest. Rinaldo in the Gardens of Armida.
Tancred in Tasso’s Jerusalem Delivered, is a Christian knight, one of the heroes of the poem. Erminia is the daughter of a former Saracen King of Antioch. She is in love with Tancred. In the single combat with Argantes, an Egyptian ambassador to Jerusalem, Tancred killed his opponent, but is severely wounded himself. Erminia appears on the scene. She removes Tancred’s armor and dresses his wounds with her locks, which she cuts on the spot.
See: Nicolas Poussin. Tancred and Erminia, Tancrede and Erminia.