Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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Erminia and the Shepherd (from a set of Scenes from Gerusalemme Liberata)

Designer:
Designed by Domenico Paradisi (Italian, active 1689–1721)
Manufactory:
Manufactured by the San Michele workshop
Workshop director:
Pietro Ferloni (Italian, active 1717–70)
Date:
designed ca. 1689–93, woven 1732–39
Culture:
Italian, Rome
Medium:
Wool, silk (16-18 warps per inch, 7 per cm.)
Dimensions:
H. 143 x W. 180 inches (363.2 x 457.2 cm)
Classification:
Textiles-Tapestries
Credit Line:
Bequest of Elizabeth U. Coles, in memory of her son, William F. Coles, 1892
Accession Number:
92.1.17
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 550
Commissioned by Cardinal Pietro Ottoboni, a great-nephew of Pope Alexander VIII, this was part of a massive series, heroic in scale as well as narrative, of fifteen tapestries depicting the romanticized version of the Christians’ First Crusade into Jerusalem recounted in Tasso’s sixteenth-century epic poem, Gerusalemme Liberata (Jerusalem Delivered).
In a gentle illusionistic interplay of spatial projection and recession, double-headed eagles (alluding to the Ottoboni arms), settle on the imposing sculptural surround to a landscape scene in which the Turkish princess, Erminia, fleeing from Christian soldiers, seeks shelter with a shepherd and his family.
Inscription: Woven in cartouche at top center: C 7 / S 7 / MA GLI SALVTA ERMINIA / E DOLCEMENTE / GL AFFIDA, E GL OCCHI SCOPRE / E I BEI CRIN D'ORO [trans.: Canto 7, stanza 7. But Erminia saluted them and sweetly trusted them and uncovered her eyes and her beautiful golden hair] (Quotation from Tasso's Gerusalemme Liberata)
Commissioned for Cardinal Pietro Ottoboni (in 1740 inventory) ; Dukes of Hamilton ; possibly acquired in Italy by Alexander Hamilton, 10th Duke of Hamilton (ca. 1835–40) ; by descent to William Alexander Louis Stephen Douglas-Hamilton, 12th Duke of Hamilton (until 1882) ; [ Hamilton Palace sale, Christie's, London , June 17–July 20, 1882, nos. 1915 ff. ] ; Mr. and Mrs. William F. Coles (until 1892; bequeathed by Mrs. Coles to MMA)
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