Here the Roman painter deals with a literary genre of great reputation in the 17th century: Torquato Tasso’s Gerusalemme Liberata, published in 1580. Born into the art world, his father, Christian Reder, was a German painter active in Rome, particularly with the Rospigliosi family. Giovanni decided to specialise in the landscape genre, ennobling it with one of the most representative passages of Tasso’s iconography. Erminia, accompanied by the “cunning squire” Vafrino, comes across her beloved Tancredi, seriously wounded and survivor of the clash with Argante, who lies dead at his feet. This episode is an excellent exercise in mediating the scene of a great poem with the setting of a luxuriant nature, providing the painter with the opportunity to explore the theme of mourning, and caring for the wounded lover. As Giovanni Careri reports, “The naturalism generated by the physical presence of the open, suffering body of the wounded man, exposed to the woman who shares his pain, reveals how in the painter’s Baroque manner the distribution of light and shade contributes to the emotional content of the painting.”
Bibl.: G. Careri, La fabbrica degli affetti. La Gerusalemme Liberata dai Carracci a Tiepolo, Milano, 2010, pag. 12.