Circle of Salvator Rosa, Italianate sunset landscape with travelers, 17th century


Circle of Salvator Rosa (Italian, 1615–1673)
Travellers in the Dusk,
Oil on canvas

Depicting a group of merchants with camels & soldiers making their way through a golden sunset towards a distant city set by the shore of the sea, with immense rocky outcrops towering above.

17th century

frame 106x63cm, canvas 92x50cm

Condition: Re-lined & professionally cleaned, hole patched & re-varnished in 2019. Some areas of thin paint, UV reveals patches of overpainting, concentrated in two areas, one by the figures in the foreground the other the central cloud associated with the patch repair to the back. Various small touch-ups visible under UV throughout. Displays very well, in a later 20th century frame.

Salvator Rosa (Italian, 1615–1673) was a prolific unconventional artist of the 17th century, creating intriguing wild landscapes populated by small figures in animated conversation. He was particularly influential on the 18th-19th century ‘Romantic’ movement artists, who followed the same idea of depicting the immensity of nature and the insignificance of man. Small figures overwhelmed by majestic landscapes and immense cloud-strewn skies are the formula.

His works hang in the major galleries of Europe, and at auction major works fetch multi-millions.

This work is an interesting imaginary landscape that is both very serene, and yet in the best Romantic tradition, unsettling. The golden glow of the dusk after the sun has set leads the eye from the darkening foreground to the city spread across on the distant shore, with a watch tower high above. But this impressive city is overshadowed by the towering sheer outcrops of the mountains behind, which catch the last rays of the setting sun.
The sense of unease in this landscape centers on the gestures of the soldiers in the foreground; there is still some distance to cover, through some wild-looking darkening woodlands, and something has held them up; part of the group has moved off hastily, hoping to make the city gates before they are barred for the night; clearly, this is a wild & mysterious land, and it is not safe to linger after dark.




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