The subject of Tancred baptizing Clorinda is taken from an episode in Italian poet Torquato Tasso's romantic epic Jerusalem Delivered (1575–76), an idealized account of the first crusade against the Saracens. The crusade ended with the capture of Jerusalem in 1099 and the establishment of a Christian kingdom. In the poem, Christian knight Tancred has dueled with and mortally wounded his Saracen love, Clorinda, whom he failed to recognize in battle dress. Domenico Tintoretto depicts the moment in which Tancred brings water for the baptism from a nearby brook, recognizing Clorinda's identity only as he unlaces her helmet. As Tancred kneels in full armor, pouring water from his helmet, Clorinda appeals to him with her dying breath to baptize her in the Christian faith.


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Artist
Domenico Tintoretto, Italian (Venetian), 1560–1635
Title
Tancred Baptizing Clorinda
Date
c. 1586–1600
Medium
Oil on canvas
Dimensions
Canvas: 66 5/16 × 45 3/16 in. (168.4 × 114.8 cm) Frame: 81 3/4 × 61 × 4 1/4 in. (207.6 × 154.9 × 10.8 cm)
Credit Line

The Samuel H. Kress Collection

Current Location
Not on view
Accession Number
61.77
Classification
Painting
Provenance

R. Langton Douglas, London; Mr. and Mrs. Frank G. Logan, Chicago, Illinois, 1923; their sale, [Kende Galleries at Gimbel Brothers, New York, 1945, lot no. 170];[ Hirschl and Adler, New York 1955]; Samuel H. Kress Foundation, New York, 1957; on loan to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston by 1958; gift of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation to the museum 1961.