Salvator Rosa (Italian, Arenella (Naples) 1615–1673 Rome)
Pen and brown ink, brown wash, on brownish paper
15-1/4 x 10-15/16 in. (38.7 x 27.8 cm)
Rogers Fund, 1966
Not on view
Painter, draftsman, etcher, poet, actor, wit, satirist, and social-climber, Salvator Rosa was without doubt one of the most colorful and temperamental personalities of the seventeenth-century art world. Landscape-rugged and wild rather than pastoral or arcadian-always had a central place in his oeuvre. Unlike Dughet, Claude, and other contemporaries, however, Rosa was inspired not by the seductive, mute shadows of the ancient world that lingered in the ruins strewn across the Roman countryside, but rather by the natural landscape's more tempestuous aspect-what he described in a letter of 1662 as its "terrific beauty" and "savage wildness." It is no wonder that Rosa's sensibility has always been considered proto-Romantic. This drawing is a study for a painting by Rosa, Prodigal Son Herding Swine, executed in the early 1650s (State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg: see Farina 2012). Although it depicts a biblical parable, the composition might easily be mistaken for a rustic swineherd tending his flock. The towering tree is as much a subject as the kneeling figure, reflecting the importance Rosa accorded to landscape, not only as a subject in its own right, as in his heroic landscape paintings and drawings, but also as an expressive setting for sacred and mythological compositions.
Inscription: Annotated on scroll on mount: "SALVATOR ROSA NE..LI" annotated at lower left corner, in pen and brown ink (slightly damaged), inscription of William Esdaile (1758–1837); annotated on back of mount, center, in graphite: "9 x. Mariette/Esdaile-/Study for Walpole painting/at Houghton, now St. Petersburg./Cat. No 198/375 1928"; annotated at left border in graphite ...from/grey mount; annotated at lower border, center, in graphite: D overthrow (?) 25-1/2 x 19-3/4 /See marks/29118 (Colnaghi stock number); annotated at lower left, in pen and brown ink; annotated at lower border in pen and brown ink (slightly obliterated), Formerly in the coll. of Mariette. (at M. Mariette's Sale cost 450 francs). Annotated at lower right corner, in graphite: CAT 198; At lower right corner, in blue graphite: 19
Annotated on reverse of mount, R. Willett's colln 1808 WE; Formerly in the coll. of Mariette. (at M. Mariette's Sale cost 450 francs).
Marking: Pierre-Jean Mariette (Lugt 1852); Alfred A. de Pass (Lugt 108a); and unidentified collector's hand-written pen mark.
Pierre Jean Mariette (French, Paris 1694–1774 Paris); R. Willett; William Esdaile (British, 1758–1837 London); Alfred A. De Pass, Cornwall (born South Africa 1861–1953); The Royal Institution of Cornwall (Truro)
Morgan Library & Museum, New York. "Drawings from New York Collections, II. The Seventeenth Century in Italy," February 23, 1967–April 22, 1967.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Roman Artists of the 17th Century: Drawings and Prints," November 2, 1976–January 16, 1977.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Drawings and Prints: Selections from the Permanent Collection," January 8, 2008–April 13, 2008.
Morgan Library & Museum. "Pierre-Jean Mariette and The Art of Collecting Drawings," January 22, 2016–May 1, 2016.
George Penrose Catalogue of paintings, drawings and miniatures in the Alfred A. de Pass collection Cornwall County Museum and Art Gallery. Truro, 1936, p. 23, no. 198.
Luigi Salerno Salvator Rosa. Milan, 1963, cat. no. no. 37, p. 123.
Christie's, London Christie's bi-centenary review of the year, October 1965-July 1966. 1966, p. 59, ill.
Walter Vitzthum "Review: Drawings from New York Collections, Vol. 2: The Seventeenth Century in Italy (Exh. cat., New York, MMA and PML, by Jacob Bean and Felice Stampfle, 1967)." Burlington Magazine. vol. 109, London, April 1967, p. 253.
Jacob Bean Patterns of Collecting: Selected Acquisitions, 1965-1975 Explanatory texts accompanying an exhibition: December 6, 1975 through March 23, 1976. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1975.
Jacob Bean (but catalogue not signed), The Metropolitan Museum of Art Roman Artists of the 17th Century: Drawings and Prints. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1976, n.p.
Michael Mahoney The Drawings of Salvator Rosa. vols. 1, 2, New York and London, 1977, cat. no. no. 34.2, p. 227.
Jacob Bean, Lawrence Turčić 17th century Italian Drawings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1979, cat. no. 326, fig. no. 326, pp. 247-48, ill.
Viviana Farina "Il 'Figliol prodigo' di Salvator Rosa: un'aggiunta al primo tempo fiorentino dell'artista con osservazioni sui disegni preparatori." La pittura italiana del Seicento all'Ermitage: Ricerche e Riflessioni. Ed. by Francesca Cappelletti, Irina Artemieva, Florence, 2012, pp. 228-33, fig. 5.