At the beginning of Aeneas's journey, the epic tale told by Virgil in the Aeneid, the god Tiber comes to Aeneas in a dream to tell him of his destiny. Aeneas lies sleeping, still wearing his armor and resting his head on his shield.
Compared to other known chalk works by Salvator Rosa, this drawing is unsually large and complete. Not only have the figures been carefully built up with black and white chalk, but the background is filled with wild lines that emphasize the drama of the scene. Scholars have identified this drawing as a finished study for Rosa's etching of the same subject made about 1663.