ROOS, Philipp Peter
(b. 1657, St. Goar, d. 1706, Roma)


German painter, called Rosa da Tivoli, member of a family of painters and etchers of which five generations painted animals, landscapes and portraits from the 17th to the 19th century, working in Germany, the Netherlands, Italy and Austria. The founding father was Johann Heinrich Roos, whose pastoral idylls introduced a Baroque style of landscape and animal painting into Germany.

Philipp Peter Roos was the son of Johann Heinrich. He went to Italy in 1677 on a bursary from the Landgrave of Hesse. In Rome he studied with Giacinto Brandi, whose daughter Maria Isabella he married in 1681, after adopting the Catholic faith. In 1684-05 he bought a house near Tivoli, which gave rise to his soubriquet 'Rosa da Tivoli'. From 1691 he seems to have lived mainly in Rome.

Roos was a member of the Schildersbent, which gave him the nickname 'Mercurius' because of the speed with which he painted. Apart from a Self-portrait (c. 1695-1700; Florence, Uffizi), he painted exclusively domestic animals with their herdsmen in the Roman Campagna. The animals dominate the foreground, leaving only small glimpses through to landscapes set beneath louring skies. Roos applied his paint in impastos, rendering the coats, the stance and the movements of each species in a virtuoso manner. The light bodies of the animals seem to grow fascinatingly out of the darkness. In the 1680s Roos tended to depict small groups of animals - sheep, goats, often headed by a billy goat with twisting horns. The herders lie at the side dressed in coarse clothing, closely bound up with the animals. Far off, wildly precipitous valleys alternate with high cliff-faces lit by a yellow-brown light; the distant mountains are conveyed in tones of light blue. Altogether the pictures are characterized by a spectral, sombre, wild and daring boldness.

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