National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of Dream of Rinaldo design and cartoon by François Boucher; woven under the direction of Jean-Baptiste Oudry and Nicolas Besnier at the Beauvais manufactory
Nicolas Besnier (artist)
French, 1714 - 1754
Jean-Baptiste Oudry (artist)
French, 1686 - 1755
Beauvais Tapestry Factory (weaver)
French, founded 1664
François Boucher (artist after)
French, 1703 - 1770
Dream of Rinaldo, c. 1751
tapestry: undyed wool warp; dyed wool and silk weft
overall (approximate dimensions): 281.3 x 472.4 cm (110 3/4 x 186 in.)
Widener Collection
1942.9.452
Not on View
From the Tour: Rococo Decorative Arts of the Mid-1700s
Object 1 of 7

Court painter to Louis XV and Madame de Pompadour, François Boucher (1703-1770) supplied a full-scale design or “cartoon” for Beauvais’ weavers to follow in creating this large tapestry. Boucher’s signature and the date 1751 appear reversed in the lower right corner.

The cartoon was woven three times at Beauvais. Boucher derived the scene from Armida, an opera that premiered in 1686 with music by Jean-Baptiste Lully and libretto by Philippe Quinault. The composer and playwright, in turn, based their story on Jerusalem Delivered, an epic poem about the Crusades that the Italian author Torquato Tasso had published in 1581.

Rinaldo, a Christian hero, sleeps in the enchanted garden of the sorceress Armida, who sided with the Saracens. Nymphs and cupids—companions of Venus, the classical goddess of love—play amid fluffy rococo foliage watered by a dolphin-shaped fountain, itself a symbol of Venus’ birth from the sea. As an indication that the dreaming Rinaldo will awaken from Armida's seductive spell and lead the crusaders to victory, he holds his plumed helmet.

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Artist Information (Beauvais Tapestry Factory)
Artist Information (François Boucher)
Artist Information (Jean-Baptiste Oudry)
Artist Information (Nicolas Besnier)
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