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ID number:  BIRBI-38.9
Institution:  The Barber Institute of Fine Arts
Artist / Maker:  Poussin, Nicolas (1594-1665)
Title / Object name:  Tancred and Erminia
Object type:  Painting
Place made:  Rome
Culture:  French
Date made:  about 1634/5
Materials:  Oil on canvas
Measurements:  75.5 x 99.7 cm
Provenance:  Sir James Thornhill, 1717; Thornhill sale, 25 February 1734 (lot 98), purchased by William Lock; by descent, William Lock of Norbury Park, Surrey, 1761; Lock family until around 1816; Earl Poulett, Hinton House, Somerset; Poulett family until 1938; purchased from Frank Sabin in 1938 for £2,000.

Tancred, a Christian warrior, lies wounded after slaying the giant Argantes, shown to the right. Tancred is helped by his squire and by Erminia, a Saracen princess, in love with the Christian knight. She cuts off her hair to bind his wounds. The putti in the dark sky illuminate the warrior, who will be restored to life and eventually united with Erminia.

Poussin took the subject from Tasso’s epic poem Jerusalem Delivered (1581) which describes the First Crusade (1096-99). The French painter shows the figures in classical dress, in keeping with his antique style, if not the events.

Notes:  Exhibited: British Institution, 1816, no. 111; 'French Painting of the XVIIth century', Wildenstein Gallery, London, UK, 1947, no. 38; 'Nicholas Poussin', Louvre, Paris, France, 1960, no. 53; 'Poussin, Sacraments and Bacchanals', National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh, UK, 16 November 1981 - 13 December 1981, no. 14; 'Nicolas Poussin, 'Tancred and Erminia'', Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Birmingham, UK, 14 October 1992 - 03 January 1993, no. 7; 'Nicolas Poussin 1594-1665', Grand Palais, Paris, France, 27 September 1994 - 02 January 1995, no. 49; 'Nicolas Poussin 1594-1665', Royal Academy, London, UK, 19 January 1995 - 09 April 1995, no. 26; 'Birth of a Collection: Treasures from the Barber Institute of Fine Arts', National Gallery, London, UK, 22 May 2013 - 01 Septemer 2013

1 Related People

Poussin, Nicolas

3 Related Publications

The paintings of Nicolas Poussin
Blunt, A. F.

Poussin and the Poetics of Painting: Pictorial Narrative and the Legacy of Tasso
Unglaub, J.
Cambridge University Press
The Seventeenth Century French Paintings
Wine, H.
National Gallery Company Limited, London
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