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Salvator Rosa

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Salvator Rosa
(Naples, Italy, 1615 – 1673, Rome, Italy)

Salvator Rosa was a painter, printmaker, poet, and actor whose energetic proto-Romantic pictorial compositions epitomize the dramatic depictions of landscape and mythological subjects characteristic of the Italian Baroque. Rosa was born in Naples and may have studied there with Jusepe de Ribera (b. Spain, 1591–1652). He lived and worked in Naples, Rome, and Florence, and died in Rome. A spirited and independent personality, he was greatly admired for his landscapes but aspired to be a figure painter. He created ambitious etchings of philosophical and mythological subjects that he hoped would convince patrons to commission large paintings. Rosa’s influence in the 18th and 19th centuries was comparable to that of Claude Lorraine (French, 1600–1682). The restful beauty of the latter’s golden sunsets was often compared with the sublime splendor of the former’s awesome, mountainous landscapes.

See Jonathan Scott, "Salvator Rosa: His Life and Times" (New Haven: 1995); Richard W. Wallace, "The Etchings of Salvator Rosa" (Princeton, 1979), and Helen Langdon, in "Salvator Rosa," exh. cat. (London: Dulwich Picture Gallery, 2010).

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