The Dream of Aeneas

Salvator Rosa Italian

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 620

Armored and elegant, the legendary founder of Rome, Aeneas, sleeps beside a theatrical, reed-laden personification of the city’s Tiber River. The subject comes from the ancient poet Virgil’s Aeneid, which was popularized in mid-seventeenth-century Rome through commissions by Pope Innocent X, including Bernini’s Four Rivers Fountain and frescoes in the papal family’s palace. Rosa may have painted this example specifically for public exhibition. The figures relate to the rough bandit types for which Rosa was famed, but the pared-down composition and their scale lend them a sculptural majesty. The complicated poses, heavy impasto of the armor, and loose brushwork of the river reeds enliven a static subject.

#5206. The Dream of Aeneas

The Dream of Aeneas, Salvator Rosa (Italian, Arenella (Naples) 1615–1673 Rome), Oil on canvas

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