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Resisting Love, Embracing War in Representations of Torquato Tasso’s Gerusalemme Liberata

Peter M. Lukehart, associate dean, Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, National Gallery of Art. The publication of Torquato Tasso’s Gerusalemme Liberata in 1581 occasioned a host of responses from artists, literati, and musicians that lasted well into the eighteenth century. In this lecture recorded on February 25, 2015, Peter Lukehart focuses on the rich corpus of drawings, paintings, and prints created during the first decades after the epic became part of the shared culture of Italy. From lavishly illustrated editions of Tasso’s poem to handsomely decorated interiors, the text provided a rich source of narrative material for painters, draftsmen, and printmakers. The lecture concludes with an introduction to Claudio Monteverdi’s 1624 musical representation of a famous scene from Gerusalemme, Il combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda, in which the intersection of love and war has tragic consequences.