the Orlando Furioso Convex Mirror

In All, Mirrors by Mark Evans




The Orlando Furioso convex mirror frame is made of wood that has been re-finished and gilded in gold.  It has been covered with layers of gold, bronze and straw colors of Venetian glass rods.  The twisted rays have been laboriously contoured with bits of the glass. The center of the frame has been embellished with resin jewels and glass cabochons.

This mirror is about 19.5 inches in diameter.    It is being shipped to our Atlanta showroom, Ainsworth-Noah.  If you are interested contact Dennis Hunt at 404-231-8787.

An illustration from the first English translation of Orlando Furioso by John Harrington.  The illustration is based on an engraving by Girolamo Porro in 1584.

Orlando Furioso, or The Frenzy of Orlando) is an Italian epic poem by  Ludovico Ariosto which has exerted a wide influence. The earliest version appeared in 1516, although the poem was not published in its complete form until 1532.

Orlando is the Christian knight known in French (and subsequently English) as Roland. The story takes place against the background of the war between Charlemagne’s Christian paladins and the Saracen army that has invaded Europe and is attempting to overthrow the Christian empire. The poem is about war and love and the romantic ideal of chivalry. It mixes realism and fantasy, humor and tragedy. The stage is the entire world, plus a trip to the moon. The large cast of characters features Christians and Saracens, soldiers and sorcerers, and fantastic creatures including a gigantic sea monster called the orc and a flying horse called the hippogriff. Many themes are interwoven in its complicated episodic structure, but the most important are the paladin Orlando’s unrequited love for the pagan princess Anglelica( see my Angelica convex mirror), which drives him mad; the love between the female Christian warrior Bradamante and the Saracen Ruggeiro, who are supposed to be the ancestors of Ariosto’s patrons, the d’Este family of Ferrara; and the war between Christian and Infidel.

The poem is divided into forty-six cantos, each containing a variable number of eight-line stanzas in  ocottava rima (a rhyme scheme of abababcc). Ariosto’s work is 38,736 lines long in total, making it one of the longest poems in European literature.

Antonio Vivaldi wrote a dazzling opera in 1727.

One of the most elaborate depictions of Orlando Furioso was painted by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld’s frescos ( 1822-1827) in the Casino Massimo, the Arioto Hall in Rome.