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SALVATOR ROSA was born at Naples, in the year 1615, and received his first knowledge of design and colouring from his kinsman, Francesco Francazano. By the death of his father, he was reduced to the lowest poverty, and compelled to expose his first paintings in the public streets. In this situation he remained sometime, until one of his designs, falling into the hands of Lanfrane, he took the young painter under his protection, and instructed him in his art. Rosa, from this change in his circumstances, was admitted in the school of Spagnoletto, whom he followed to Rome, where his genius began to disclose itself, and his reputation became confirmed.

Salvator received from nature an enlarged and comprehensive mind; a lively, fertile, and poetic imagination. The extreme facility with which he painted, carried him at times beyond the severe rules of taste: his historical pictures, therefore, are inferior to his landscapes and his battles. It is in those works in which he worked from the exuberance of his own fancy, that he gave the greatest proof of extraordinary talents. His compositions, in general, have peculiar force and energy; his touch is vigorous; his design bold and natural, and throughout his pictures, we may perceive an admirable correspondence of ideas, execution, and effect. This painter studied nature with profound attention and judgment. Every thing is of a piece; his rocks, trees, sky, even to his handling, have the same rude and wild character, which animates his figures, but he chose to represent her in her utmost grandeur and magnificence, and at times under an aspect truly terrific. His battles are sanguinary in the extreme; his sea-pieces represent the most disastrous tempest, and his landscapes

scenes of wildness and horror. "He delights," says M. Fuseli, "in ideas of desolation, solitude, and danger, impenetrable forests, rocky or storm-lashed shores; in lonely dells leading to dens and caverns of banditti, alpine ridges, trees blasted by lightning, or sapped by time, or stretching their extravagant arms athwart a murky sky, lowering or thundering clouds, and suns shorn of their beams. His figures are wandering shepherds, forlorn travellers, wrecked mariners, banditti lurking for their prey, or dividing their spoils. But this general vein of sublimity or terror, forsook him in the pursuit of witcheries, apparitions, and spectres: here he is only grotesque or capricious."

Salvator, however, possessed considerable humour, and a lively imagination, that procured him many friends, whom he had the art to preserve. His education, which had been particularly attended to, enabled him to cultivate poetry with considerable success. His satires are much esteemed by the Italians, who gave him a distinguished rank among the poets of his time.

Salvator passed nine years at Florence, and was loaded with favours by the grand duke; his liberality furnished him with all the comforts of life. He was fond of music and the stage, composed several theatrical pieces, and invented, daily, some novelty to amuse his friends. His talents and conviviality remained to his last moments.

He died at Rome, aged 58.

His genuine works are exceedingly rare and valuable, but many of them are in the rich and curious collections of the English nobility and gentry. A most capital picture of Salvator is in the Louvre, of which the subject is Saul and the Witch of Endor.

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