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The Dramatic Image: Baroque Prints of the 17th Century

Salvator Rosa
Italian, 1615–1673

The Fall of the Giants

Engraving, about 1663
Museum Purchase, 1978.38

This unusually large print (plate: 28 9/16 x 18 3/8 in.) was inspired by the famous fresco by Giulio Romano (about 1499–1456) of the Fall of the Giants in the Palazzo del Te in Mantua. The subject depicts the hideous race of giants birthed by the Titan Gaia and sent to battle the gods of Olympus, who narrowly defeat them.

Salvator Rosa used etching to explore the grand philosophical and mythological themes that fascinated him. This print was produced in hopes that a potential patron would commission a painting based on it: Rosa forever lamented that it did not happen.