Rosa was one of the first artists known to have painted nature 'en plein air', or out-of-doors. This sketch is unusual in that it appears to have been painted on two separate occasions. The fissures and cracks in the rocks and the foliage above are loosely painted, while details such as the bamboo leaves, grass and flowers seem to have been added at a later date. It is possible that Salvator Rosa added these details back in the studio, and the addition of the bandits turns the sketch into a finished painting.
The National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DN