Feminine Wiles and Masculine Weakness: Seventeenth-Century Visual Responses to Tasso’s Crusade

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Abstract

This essay offers a political reading of the artistic choices made by seventeenth-century painters in their depictions of the heroines of Tasso’s Jerusalem Delivered (1581). It discusses the political subtext of Tasso’s epic poem by exploring the roles Tasso assigns to his oriental heroines and their representation in seventeenth-century paintings. Painters and patrons alike were particularly enthusiastic about the love stories that developed around Jerusalem. But Tasso is promoting a crusade, and the visual focus of later painters on Tasso’s seductive female protagonists and their submission to Christian warriors, suggests that their aim was to display the delights that await those who join a military expedition to conquer the Holy Land.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)812-835
Number of pages24
JournalEuropean Legacy
Volume21
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - 16 Nov 2016

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