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Armida Discovers Rinaldo

Ubaldo Gandolfi was part of a successful family of painters active in Bologna at the end of the eighteenth century. With his brother Gaetano, Ubaldo contributed greatly to the tradition of Bolognese draftsmanship. The two brothers witnessed the transition from late Bolognese Baroque into Neoclassicism. Ubaldo trained in the Academia Clementina in Bologna, where he acquired a precise knowledge of human anatomy; he also practiced drawing from a live model throughout his career. He was best known as a painter of religious subjects and portraits. His art was always somewhat attached to the depiction of everyday reality, especially his genre portraits, called teste di carattere (character heads). Originally titled A Classical Scene, the drawing appears to portray an encounter between the sorceress Armida and the crusader Rinaldo, key characters in the epic poem La Gerusalemme liberata, by the Italian poet Torquato Tasso, first published in 1581, which mythologizes the story of the First Crusade of 1196–99. Rinaldo and Armida’s story inspired artists for hundreds of years and was especially popular during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

Ubaldo Gandolfi
Italian, 1728–1781
Armida Discovers Rinaldo
1770–81
Brown ink and gray ink wash on paper
Image: 9 5/8 x 7 11/16 in. (24.4 x 19.5 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, The Anthony Moravec Collection of Old Master Drawings, 2010.130