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Friday, July 12, 2013

Enter Solyman (3)

Besides the special tent containing the Holy Lance, in the Christian encampment there's another special one, whose inner surface is wholly painted - once again, an episode completely lacking in Gerusalemme Liberata. The pictures are a sort of flashback showing the events that preceded the "present" situation: this gives Tasso the opportunity to complete the history of the Crusade, and at the same time produces the interesting effect of the heroes "looking at themselves," like Ulysses who, in the Odyssey, listened to his own adventures being sung. In Orlando Furioso, Ludovico Ariosto even inserted a sculpture that portrayed himself (anonymously).

As to the style of the paintings, it clearly is a Renaissance/Baroque one. Here and elsewhere, Tasso makes - directly or indirectly - reference to Dante, Purgatorio, Canto 10, where the then brand new criterion of successful art as hyperrealist art was provided. Dante had Giotto in his mind, but Renaissance authors like Ariosto and Tasso could adopt such a criterion a fortiori.

And speaking of Dante, GC 3: 17, v. 8: "Gli attende al varco ne l'antica selva," ". . .  lies in wait for them in the ancient forest," contains even two micro-quotes from the Divine Comedy: Inferno 30: 8 and Purgatorio 28: 23.