Lot 24
  • 24


60,000 - 80,000 EUR
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  • 317 x 490 cm ; 124 3/4  x 193 in.
in wool, depicting an episode of the story of Rinaldo and Armida, the border decorated with fruits and flowers garlands, topped with a cartouche retained by angels, decorated with putti on the sides, the lower part containing a center figure à l'antique between shells


Paris, Drouot, 29 May 2000, lot 60
Christie's Monaco, 16-17 June 2001, lot 702
Private collection, France


Related literature :Maurice Fenaille, Etat général des tapisseries de la manufacture des Gobelins, Paris, 1924, Vol. I, pp. 319-328 'Renaud et Armide. D'après Vouet
Gabriele Quaranta, Deux générations à côté du pouvoir: quelques remarques sur les arts chez les de Fourcy, Livraisons de l'histoire de l'architecture, 2013
Jacques Thuillier, Vouet, cat. exposition, Paris, 1990-1991, p. 116

Catalogue Note

It is traditionally accepted that the series of paintings depicting the Rinaldo and Armida cycle by Simon Vouet was executed for Henri de Fourcy, superintendent of the King’s Buildings, for the Chessy Château’s gallery (destroyed after the French Revolution). He is an important figure in French art history for he was one of the first patrons of Simon Vouet, following his return from Italy in 1627. Henri de Fourcy chose to place a great deal emphasis onto the story of Rinaldo and Armida (from Jerusalem Delivered, 1580) for his interior decoration. It was selected for continuing Torquato Tasso’s many tales that were evoked during the last decades within France’s Court, hence subject to constant reinterpretation in supporting the royal power. Simon Vouet provided many cartoons for the tapestry, and especially for the workshops belonging to the weavers François de la Planche and Marc de Comans, partnered Flemish tapestry makers from the early 17th century that produced wall hangings in the ‘façon de Fandres’ (Flanders manner). They received letters patent in 1607 from King Henri IV, to establish tapestry factories in Paris and in other cities within the kingdom, becoming the veritable ancestors of Gobelins manufacture. In each of the paintings, Vouet sought staging - often theatrical - key moments from Rinaldo and Armida’s story. The present episode is described as : « Dans un riche jardin, au fond duquel s’élèvent des portiques magnifiques, Rinaldo est étendu et tient dans la main droite un miroir où se regarde Armide. De petits Amours apportent des bijoux. Cachés derrière les autres, à gauche de l’autre côté d’une mare où s’ébattent des canards Charles et Ubald contemplent la scène » (In a rich garden, the background has magnificent porticoes, Rinaldo is reclining and holds in his right hand a mirror where Armida looks at herself. Little Cupids bring jewelry. Hidden behind the others, on the left of the other side of a pond where ducks are frolicking, Carlo and Ubaldo contemplate the scene).

This cycle, woven three times for the Crown and several times for private patrons, became part of the Barberini collections quite early. Nowadays, it is the most complete cycle and was transferred to the Flint Institute of Arts. The model similar to ours is listed under inventory number 2005.124.5. The story was popular throughout the 17th century, at a time when the style evolved towards a literature with desired results. Therefore, the adventure continued to please and inspired 18th century artists, as evident with artworks by François Boucher, Jean-Honore Fragonard, and Giovanni Battista Tiepolo. Marie Leszczynska also had a tapestry of Rinaldo and Armida’s love story in her royal chamber. A tapestry similar to the presented, entitled Rinaldo in Armida's Arms, made by Parisian workshops during the second half of the 17th century, is part of the Louvre (OAR 522) collection. Another, woven in the Faubourg Saint Marcel looms is kept in the Château of Haras du Pin (illustrated in "Vouet", Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais, exh. cat, 517, Fig. 147). Another hanging, also illustrating this passage, woven in the same looms, was auctioned at Sotheby's London on 29 May 1998 (lot 15).