Nicolas Poussin (French, 1594–1665)
Oil on canvas
46 1/2 x 40 1/4 in. (118.1 x 102.2 cm)
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Wrightsman, 1977 (1977.1.2)
Born in Normandy and trained in Paris, Poussin settled in Rome in 1624 and fell under the spell of classical antiquity. This picture dates shortly before 1633 and belonged to the antiquary and collector Cassiano dal Pozzo. It illustrates an episode from Tasso's heroic Crusader poem Jerusalem Delivered (1580), in which the Christian knights Carlo and Ubaldo confront a dragon in their attempt to rescue Rinaldo from a pagan sorceress. As the first Crusade took place in the eleventh century, their antique Roman arms and armor are anachronistic.