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Salvator Rosa, 'Landscape with Travellers asking the Way', about 1641

Key facts
Full title Landscape with Travellers asking the Way
Artist Salvator Rosa
Artist dates 1615 - 1673
Date made about 1641
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 108.3 × 174.2 cm
Inscription summary Signed
Acquisition credit Presented by the Trustees of Sir Denis Mahon's Charitable Trust through the Art Fund, 2013
Inventory number NG6643
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Landscape with Travellers asking the Way
Salvator Rosa

Passing through a gloomy forest, two riders ask for directions from a group of peasants resting at the side of the road. The man on the white horse points towards the sunlit valley beyond, his gesture mirrored by one of the seated figures. A shaft of warm evening light cuts through the dense canopy of trees and falls on the figures, their red and blue outfits standing out against the rich, earthy tones of their surroundings. In the middle distance, two shadowed figures are set against the glowing landscape.

In 1640 Rosa was invited to Florence by Prince Gian Carlo de' Medici, brother of Ferdinand II, Grand Duke of Tuscany. This is one of fifteen landscapes Rosa painted for the Prince during the 1640s. The peaceful, rural scene recalls the landscapes of Claude, which Rosa had previously seen in Rome, but the twisting tree trunks and curious rock formations are typical of Rosa’s own style.

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