Tancred in front of the walls of Jerusalem

The story of Tancred and Clorinda by Dubois Ambroise - château de Fontainebleau - © RMN Grand Palais

Ambroise Dubois (1543 (ca.)-1614)
Between 1601 and 1606
H. 162 cm; L. 215 cm
Oil on canvas
Château de Fontainebleau, Inv 4160
First Saint-Louis Hall.

Between 1601 and 1606, the painter Ambroise Dubois was commissioned to paint a series of eight paintings for Queen Marie de Medici, the wife of Henry IV. These paintings were intended to decorate the walls of the Queen’s study (the current White Room), where they were set into the woodwork above panelling. They recount the adventures of Tancred and Clorinda, as written by Tasso in Delivered Jerusalem, a true best-selling novel of chivalry in the late 16th century.

Tancred, the Norman prince of Sicily, was one of the most valiant warriors in the Christian camp; Clorinda, meanwhile, was the daughter of the Queen of Ethiopia, who had been trained in the profession of weaponry since childhood. Their impossible love is one of the strong points in Tasso’s story. The Crusaders’ camp is seen here in the foreground, at the foot of the ramparts of besieged Jerusalem. Tancred is jumping up and down, trying to get a glimpse of his beloved. At the top of the wall, two episodes of the story are depicted simultaneously: on the one hand, a soldier making his rounds shoots an arrow towards Tancred, but misses his shot and wounds the hero’s horse; on the other, Clorinda, a witness to the scene, takes revenge by throwing the soldier into the moat. The powerful, tangy colours, the muscular, contorted bodies still influenced by Michelangelo’s art and his influence in Fontainebleau are characteristic of the style of the Second School of Fontainebleau.

Exhibitions

1987, Château de Fontainebleau, Ambroise Dubois in Fontainebleau.

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