The Savage and Sublime in the Etchings of Salvator Rosa

The Norton Simon Museum presents The Savage and Sublime in the Etchings of Salvator Rosa,  an exhibition of thirty-nine etchings by Salvator Rosa (1615-1673) brought together from the permanent collection. A painter, poet, actor, satirist, and professed stoic, Rosa sought effects that are today called "romantic." His well-known landscape paintings of the "savage wilderness" exercised a profound influence on English artists of the 18th and 19th centuries.

Popularly known as a painter of landscape and battle pieces, Rosa was commonly linked with the Bambocciata, a group of painters whose work was characterized by realistic, narrative description of popular life. Rosa's goal, however, was to earn a reputation for himself as a painter of high moral and philosophical themes.

It was only in the 1650s, well into his career, that Rosa took up etching. Having had trouble achieving the patronage he felt he deserved, Rosa saw etching as the best possible medium to prove his inventive powers. From his etched œuvre it is possible to have a complete view of his fiercely independent personality and his artistic direction. Included in the exhibition are images from the Figurine  series of 1656, as well as Diogenes and His Cup  and The Fall of the Giants, subjects that were considered highly unusual and innovative for the time. The prints on view demonstrate the diveristy of Rosa's subject matter and the vitality of this visual language.