ROSA, Salvator
(b. 1615, Arenella, d. 1673, Roma)

Harbour with Ruins

c. 1640
Oil on canvas, 88 x 111 cm
Szépművészeti Múzeum, Budapest

Signed on the plank at bottom centre: ROSA.

Salvator Rosa, painter, poet, etcher and musician, was one of the most interesting artists of the Italian Baroque. He worked in Naples, Florence and Rome, painting mostly Graeco-Roman historical scenes, allegories, landscapes and battle scenes. He himself thought most highly of his figure compositions because of their moral and philosophic content, but even his contemporaries found these works too intricate and contrived, preferring his romantic and beautiful landscapes and violent battle scenes.

This landscape, together with its companion-piece Rocky Landscape with Waterfall, was only recently recognized as a signed and authentic work by Rosa. Both pictures were yellow and darkened, with age, but cleaning restored them to their original beauty, and the signature, once believed to be a forgery, turned out to be genuine. When compared with Rosa's early landscapes in the galleries of Florence and Modena, similarities of style and subject are evident.

The painting is mentioned in contemporary records and is known to have been acquired from the artist's friend Francesco Cordini for the Ambras collection by Ferdinand Charles, Archduke of Tyrol, along with several other works by Rosa. It later passed to the Imperial collection in Vienna before being transferred to Buda Castle, and from there to the National Museum in Budapest in 1848.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.