The Italian poet Ludovico Ariosto’s epic "Orlando furioso" (1516) enjoyed revived popularity in the eighteenth century. In this melodramatic scene, the costumes, the physical types, and, especially, the poses are reminiscent of the style of the Italian High Renaissance, which West greatly admired. The hero, Orlando, is shown as he learns that he has lost his place in the affections of Angelica, who now loves someone else and has dispensed with a jeweled bracelet Orlando had given her. The painter concentrated all the work’s tension in the theatrical pose of Orlando, who, in the wildness of his grief, loses his mind.
the artist, until 1820; his sons, Raphael West and Benjamin West Jr., 1820–1829; sale, George Robins, London, 20–22 Jun. 1829, no. 64, as "Composition from Ariosto"; Henry P. Bone; sale, Christie's, London, 12 Mar. 1847, no. 126, as "A Scene from the Tempest-- a sketch"; with W. [I.?] Smith, London, 1847; held by Arthur E. S. Seguin, Philadelphia, by 1851–died 1852; held by his wife Ann Childe Sguin, New York, 1852–died 1888; held by her daughter, Marie C. Seguin, New York, 1888–died?; her nephew's widow, Clara (Mrs. Edward S. R.) Seguin, New York, by 1923
Artist: Benjamin West (American, Swarthmore, Pennsylvania 1738–1820 London)Date: 1784Medium: Red chalk on thin off-white laid paper, mounted on off-white laid paperAccession: 2002.1On view in:Not on view
Artist: After Benjamin West (American, Swarthmore, Pennsylvania 1738–1820 London)Medium: Black ink, watercolor washes, and black chalk on off-white laid paperAccession: 45.50 versoOn view in:Not on view
Artist: Benjamin West (American, Swarthmore, Pennsylvania 1738–1820 London)Date: 1784Medium: Pen and brown ink, brown ink washes, black chalk, and graphite on off-white (now oxidized) laid paper.Accession: 2003.436On view in:Not on view
Artist: Benjamin West (American, Swarthmore, Pennsylvania 1738–1820 London)Date: 1788Medium: Brown ink applied by brush and pen, black chalk underdrawing; laid paper prepared with a light golden brown washAccession: 2010.144On view in:Not on view