b. 1615 Naples, Italy, d. 1673 Rome
"[O]ur wealth must consist in things of the spirit, and in contenting ourselves with sipping, while others gorge themselves in prosperity." --Salvator Rosa
Despite living three hundred years before the Romantic movement, Rosa--a poet, satirist, composer, etcher, and painter--epitomized the Romantic rebel. He refused to paint on commission or to agree on a price beforehand, and he chose his own subjects. He painted in order "to be carried away by the transports of enthusiasm and use my brushes only when I feel myself rapt."
Rosa studied in Naples, where Jusepe Ribera's realism influenced him. Encouraged by Giovanni Lanfranco, Rosa went to Rome in 1635. A bout with malaria drove him back to Naples, but he returned in 1639, resolving "to have his name on everybody's lips." His amateur theatrical group lampooned the sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini, prompting Rosa's quick departure. In Florence he enjoyed Medici patronage and founded the Accademia dei Percossi (Academy of the Afflicted), a crossroads for literati and artists. Rosa considered his innovative, rugged landscapes as mere recreation; in his mind only religious or historical subjects constituted "High Art." In 1649 he settled in Rome to work toward success as a history painter.
Allegory of Fortune
Dream of Aeneas
Italian, about 1663