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The Dramatic Image: Baroque Prints of the 17th Century

Salvator Rosa
Italian, 1615–1673

The Genius of Salvator Rosa

Engraving, about 1650
Gift of Irving E. Macomber, 1913.346
This print has been taken as an allegorical portrait of Salvator Rosa himself. A figure of a young man, representing Rosa’s Genius (attendant spirit or divine nature), reclines against the legs of a woman. A cornucopia of coins spills out behind him. In an idyllic wooded setting, with a sarcophagus in the background, he ignores the wealth of gold and silver and offers his heart to Sincerity. A wizened old man, Stoicism, stands before him holding a Roman balance. On the left, a female satyr representing Satire holds a rolled paper while pointing towards the sage holding the balance. The figure of Painting appears holding a canvas in the foreground, while Liberty, against whom the young man leans, presents her cap.

Translated from the Latin, the inscription at the bottom right reads: “Sincere, free, fiery painter, yet equable, despiser of wealth and death, this is my genius. Salvator Rosa.”