Alessandro Rosi, FLORENCE 1627 – 1697
26 3/4 by 20 1/2 in.; 68 by 52 cm.
Rosi depicts the moment just after Cain has slain his brother Abel, who lays ashen in the foreground, as God the Father appears in a swirl of clouds above. In Rosi’s striking composition, Cain’s back is turned to the viewer as he looks up at God above, the drama of their encounter enhanced by the stormy blue and purple sky. More on this painting
Cain and Abel were sons of Adam and Eve in the biblical Book of Genesis. Cain, the firstborn, was a farmer, and his brother Abel was a shepherd. The brothers made sacrifices to God, each of his own produce, but God favored Abel’s sacrifice instead of Cain’s. Cain then murdered Abel, whereupon God punished Cain to a life of wandering. Cain then dwelt in the land of Nod, where he built a city and fathered the line of descendants beginning with Enoch.
The narrative never explicitly states Cain’s motive for murdering his brother, nor God’s reason for rejecting Cain’s sacrifice, nor details on the identity of Cain’s wife. Some traditional interpretations consider Cain to be the originator of evil, violence, or greed. According to Genesis, Cain was the first human born and Abel was the first to die. More on Cain and Abel
Alessandro Rosi (28 December 1627 in Rovezzano – 19 April 1697 in Florence) was an Italian artist, working during the Baroque period. Rossi trained in the workshops of Jacopo Vignali and Cesare Dandini. It seems that he undertook a study trip to Rome, where he saw the work of Simon Vouet and Giovanni Lanfranco.
His biographer Baldinucci described him as having the extravagant temperament of an artist. Rosi enjoyed the patronage of some of the most important Florentine families of the time, such as the Corsini or Rinuccini families, for which he undertook large decorative projects. He also made a series of ten designs for tapestries commissioned by Cosimo III de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany. His foremost pupil was Alessandro Gherardini. He died at the age of seventy after being struck by a falling column while walking along the Via Condotta in Florence.
“Little is known of his life.” Only the single full-length study of his oeuvre brought him to the forefront. His work previously tended to be confused with that of other artists such as Sigismondo Coccapini. His work has undergone a re-evaluation by critics in recent years, after centuries of oblivion. More on Alessandro Rosi
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