Salvator Rosa was one of the boldest and most powerfully inventive artists and personalities of the Italian th century In Britain he is now best known for his wild landscapes, those scenes of which Horace Walpole so memorably wrote Precipices, mountains, torrents, wolves, rumblings Salvator Rosa But Rosa was far than this He invented a range of new types of painting novel allegorical pictures, distinguished by a haunting and melancholy poetry fanciful portraits of romantic and enigmatic figures macabre and horrific subjects that give expression to the dark side of th century triumphalism and highly original philosophical subjects, which bring into painting some of the major philosophical and scientific concerns of the age His mature art is characterized by his dazzlingly free technique, rich chiaroscuro and dark but strong colors No other artist has created windswept landscapes of such expressive and emotional power, or figures of such brooding intensityThis book emphasizes the variety and quality of Rosa s art It creates a unified aesthetic for his art, to put it back into the th century, as it were, and create a rich and new intellectual context for the artist s interests and achievements

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