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The Genius of Salvator Rosa



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This etching, Salvator Rosa's psychological self-portrait, bears an inscription: 'Ingenuus, Liber, Pictor Succensor, et Aequus, / Spretor Opum, Mortisque. hic meus est Genius. / Salvator Rosa.' (Sincere, free, fiery painter and equable, despiser of wealth and death, this is my genius). It shows the artist naked, without worldly need. A Stoic philosopher and Pictura, goddess of painting, offer their wisdom, but the wreath in his hair gives us a clue as to where his innate sympathies lie. While we might expect a talented artist to wear a crown of laurels, Rosa's is crowned with ivy, the symbol of Bacchus and also the adornment of the satyress, the embodiment of unbridled passions. There is another copy at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge


Ingenuity: Ingenium, Ingenuity: Genius, Ingenuity: Genio, Ingenuity: Ingegno, Satyr, Painting, Ivy, Cornucopia, Nature

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The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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