Tancred and Erminia

Image credit: The Henry Barber Trust, The Barber Institute of Fine Arts, University of Birmingham

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Tancred, a Christian warrior, lies wounded after slaying the giant Argantes, shown to the right. Tancred is helped by his squire and by Erminia, a Saracen princess, in love with the Christian knight. She cuts off her hair to bind his wounds. The 'putti' in the dark sky illuminate the warrior, who will be restored to life and eventually united with Erminia. Poussin took the subject from Tasso’s epic poem 'Jerusalem Delivered' (1581) which describes the First Crusade (1096–1099). The French painter shows the figures in classical dress, in keeping with his antique style, if not the events.

Tancred and Erminia




oil on canvas


H 75.5 x W 99.7 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

purchased, 1938

Work type



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Normally on display at

The Barber Institute of Fine Arts

University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, West Midlands B15 2TS England

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