Angelica and Medoro

François Boucher French

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 539

This painting, shown with its pendant at the Salon of 1765, is based on Ludovico Ariosto’s epic poem Orlando Furioso (1532). In its handling and composition, it is a consummate example of Boucher’s skill as a colorist in the jewel-like treatment of a historical theme. It depicts Angelica, the pagan daughter of an imaginary king of China, who abandoned the Christian knight Orlando for the knight Medoro, a North African Muslim. Nothing of the multicultural cast found in the original text is evident in Boucher’s image, however, nor in the story’s many representations during the nineteenth century.

Angelica and Medoro, François Boucher (French, Paris 1703–1770 Paris), Oil on canvas

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