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

River Landscape with Apollo and the Cumean Sibyl

c. 1655
Oil on canvas, 174 x 259 cm
Wallace Collection, London

Ovid (Met. 14:130-153) tells how the Sibyl of Cumae, in southern Italy, was loved by Apollo. He bribed her by offering to prolong her life for as many years as there were grains in a heap of dust, in return for her embraces. She refused him and although he kept his word he denied her perpetual youth, so she was condemned to centuries as a wizened crone. The Sibyl, a young woman, is shown standing before Apollo holding out her cupped hands which contain the heap of dust. He sits on a rock before her, one hand resting on his lyre.

The subject is first seen in the 17th century.

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