Rinaldo and Armida in the gardens of the Blessed Isle

Jan de Herdt (c. 1620 – c. 1684) | 1667 | oil on canvas, 156 × 156 cm

Love has led Armida to trick and capture Rinaldo by means of sorcery, using her magical powers to keep him on her Blissful Island. The beautiful Armida’s uncle was the ruler of Damascus, who was at the head of the opposing Christian warriors. Armida attempts to leave Rinaldo in blissful obscurity, but her plan is foiled by Rinaldo’s friends Charles and Ubald, as discussed in Canto 15 of Tasso.


His hungry eyes upon her face he fed,

And feeding them so, pined himself away;

And she, declining often down her head,

his lips, his cheeks, his eyes kissed, as he lay,

Wherewith he signed, as if his soul had fled

From his frail breast to hers, and there would stay

With her beloved sprite: the armed pair

These follies all beheld and this hot fare.


Down by the lover’s side there pendent was

A crystal mirror, bright, pure, smooth, and neat,

He rose, and to his mistress held the glass,

A noble page, graced with inflamed, alas, 

Beauty and love beheld, both in one seat;

Yet them in sundry objects each espies, 

She, in the glass, he saw them in her eyes.