The Yearning for the Holy Land: Agucchi’s Program for Erminia and the Shepherds

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In 1602, Monsignor Giovanni Battista Agucchi (1570–1632) commissioned from the well-known Bolognese painter Ludovico Carracci a painting of Erminia's encounter with Ambrosio, the old shepherd, and his three sons in their village on the banks of the river Jordan (figure 1). The episode was taken from Torquato Tasso's Gerusalemme Liberata, an epic sixteenth-century poem that recounts the story of the eleventh-century conquest of Jerusalem by the crusaders. Agucchi's commission was followed by a meeting between him and Ludovico in Rome, during the painter's short visit to that city in the same year.1 On that occasion, Agucchi handed the painter his Impresa per dipingere l'historia d'Erminia che si racconta nel principio del settimo libro del Godfredo del Tasso — a detailed account of how he envisaged the scene.
Original languageEnglish GB
Pages (from-to)367-377
Number of pages11
JournalWord and Image
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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