In Book VIII of Virgil’s Aeneid, the Trojan hero Aeneas has landed in Latium, exhausted from the brewing hostilities with the local Rutili and their leader Turnus. “This way and that he turns his anxious mind; thinks, and rejects the counsel he designed; explores himself in vain, and gives no rest to his distracted heart.” Aeneas finally finds nocturnal repose on the banks of the Tiber, when “thro’ the shadows of the poplar wood, arose the father of the Roman flood an azure robe was over his body spread, a wreath of shady reeds adorned his head.” Tiberinus, the river god himself, tells Aeneas not to fear, for “when thirty rolling years have run their race, thy son Ascanius, on this empty space, shall build a royal town, of lasting fame”—a prophecy of the foundation of Rome. More on this painting
Salvator Rosa (June 20 or July 21, 1615 – March 15, 1673) was one of the least conventional artists of 17th-century Italy, and was adopted as a hero by painters of the Romantic movement in the later 18th and early 19th centuries. He was mainly a painter of landscapes, but the range of his subject matter was unusually wide and included portraits and allegories. He also depicted scenes of witchcraft, influenced by Northern prints.
Rosa’s training took place in Naples, where he was born, and the main influences on his early work were Ribera and Aniello Falcone, a painter best known for his battle scenes. Following visits to Rome in the later 1630s Rosa worked in Florence and its neighbourhood (1640-9), before returning to Rome, where he eventually died. More on Salvator Rosa
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