At the Atheneum, Salvator Rosa Paints His Equal

THE DAILY PIC: The romantic attachment of the first romantic.


THE DAILY PIC (#1469): I just found out that one of my favorite pictures in the world has a mate – this portrait of a woman named Lucrezia, by the amazing 17th-century Italian named Salvator Rosa. (Above is a detail; see below for the whole work.) I’ve adored Rosa’s self-portrait in the National Gallery in London since I first saw it almost 30 years ago. Rosa, who for several centuries was one of art’s greatest superstars, was one of the first models of the romantic, uncompromising, temperamental artist. So imagine my pleasure and surprise when, on a recent visit to the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, CT, I discovered Rosa’s painting of his mistress Lucrezia, probably meant to hang with the London picture. Could she really have been as wild, as a 17th-century woman, as Rosa was as a man? Or is it Rosa’s wild brush and mind that turns her into his equal in choler?



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