The Damsel and Orlando

Artist: Benjamin West (American, Swarthmore, Pennsylvania 1738–1820 London)

Date: ca. 1793

Culture: American

Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 36 x 28 in. (91.4 x 71.1 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Maria DeWitt Jesup Fund, 1923

Accession Number: 95.22.5

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 774
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