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Angelica and Medoro

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jean-Baptiste Bénard, Angelica carves Medoro's name, before 1789
Angelica encountering the wounded Medoro, Giovanni Francesco Romanelli, 1646-48

Angelica and Medoro was a popular subject for Romantic painters, composers and writers from the 16th until the 19th century.[1] Angelica and Medoro are two characters from the 16th-century Italian epic Orlando Furioso by Ludovico Ariosto. Angelica was an Asian princess at the court of Charlemagne who fell in love with the Saracen knight Medoro, and eloped with him to China. While in the original work Orlando was the main character, many adaptations focused purely or mainly on the love between Angelica and Medoro, with the favourite scenes in paintings being Angelica nursing Medoro, and Angelica carving their names into a tree, a scene which was the theme of at least 25 paintings between 1577 and 1825.[2]

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • Angelica e Medoro (Excerpts) : Oh, dell'anima mia
  • Angelica e Medoro (Excerpts) : Giusti numi
  • Angelica e Medoro
  • Orlando : Act 1 "Consolati, o bella" [Angelica, Medoro, Dorinda]
  • Angelica e Medoro: Non cerchi innamorarsi


Episodes in the story

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, Angelica and Medoro with the Shepherds, 1757
Angelica and Medoro, engraving by Antoine Radigues, after Alessandro Tiarini, c.1750

Angelica and Medoro are on different sides in the war, and their first encounter is when Angelica comes across the wounded Medoro. He has been wounded in a skirmish with Scottish knights, in which his two friends Cloridano and Dardinello were killed. They may be shown lying dead. In the poem Ariosto describes how Cupid, annoyed with Angelica's disdain for love, waits beside Medoro for Angelica with an arrow fitted in his bow. He may be shown firing this at her.[3]

Angelica takes Medoro off to a shepherd's hut, and nurses him there, falling in love with him in the process. When he is fully recovered they depart. The Villa Valmarana Tiepolo cycle (1757) shows both scenes. The most popular scene in art is of the lovers carving their names into a tree in a sylvan setting; most often Angelica is shown doing the carving. It is when the hero Orlando, who is in love with Angelica, finds the names that he becomes furioso or mad.[4]

Incomplete list of artists depicting Angelica and Medoro


Angelica nurses the wounded Medoro

List of authors writing about Angelica and Medoro

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, Angelica Carving Medoro's Name on a Tree, 1757.

List of composers writing about Angelica and Medoro

Libretto by Andrea Salvadori

Libretto by Metastasio

Libretto by Leopoldo de Villati

Libretto by Carlo Vedova

Libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte

Libretto by Gaetano Sertor

  • Gaetano Andreozzi, Angelica e Medoro, 1791



  1. ^ Waid, Candace (1991). Edith Wharton's letters from the underworld: fictions of women and writing. UNC Press Books. p. 29. ISBN 978-0-8078-4302-4. Retrieved 6 October 2011.
  2. ^ Littlejohn, David (1992). The ultimate art: essays around and about opera. University of California Press. p. 111. ISBN 978-0-520-07608-2. Retrieved 6 October 2011. Angelica Medoro tree.
  3. ^ Finaldi, Gabriele and Kitson, Michael, Discovering the Italian Baroque: the Denis Mahon Collection, 1997, National Gallery Publications, London/Yale UP, ISBN 1857091779
  4. ^ Hall, James, Hall's Dictionary of Subjects and Symbols in Art, p. 18, 1996 (2nd edn.), John Murray, ISBN 0719541476

Further reading

  • Julius A. Molinaro, Angelica and Medoro; The Development of a Motif from the Renaissance to the Baroque, 1954
  • Rensselaer W. Lee, Names on trees : Ariosto into art, Princeton University Press, 1977, 124 pages, ISBN 0-691-03914-3.
This page was last edited on 23 June 2023, at 20:16
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