on May 2, 2011
Salvatore Rosa was a complex man. He was proud of his intellectual activities: philosophy, poetry, painting, play-writing and acting. He formed societies of fellow artists in the cities of Naples, Florence and Rome to explore new philosophical ideas. After becoming frustrated with the patronage system (he didn't win every commission from his patrons), he attempted to live outside the standard patronage model, painting what he wanted and selling only when he felt he was getting a good price. Many of his paintings are of obscure subjects, such as the Dishonest Woodsman. Rosa was a self-promoter using controversy to keep his name and paintings in front of the public. More than once he had to leave the city after offending the ruling elite.
Having seen the exhibit for which this is the catalog at the Kimball Art Museum in Fort Worth TX, I can attest that many of the painting are physically very dark. I was able to get within inches of the witch paintings and could not see some of the details. The book photos with the exactly correctly lighting show the details I could not see in person.