The Dream of Aeneas

Artist: Salvator Rosa (Italian, Arenella (Naples) 1615–1673 Rome)

Date: ca. 1663–64

Medium: Etching and drypoint

Dimensions: plate: 13 11/16 x 9 in. (34.7 x 22.9 cm)
sheet: 13 13/16 x 9 3/16 in. (35.1 x 23.3 cm)

Classification: Prints

Credit Line: Purchase, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, 1917

Accession Number: 17.50.17-85


The Metropolitan Museum's painted version of Salvator Rosa's 'Dream of Aeneas' (65.118) may have preceded this etching, but in the print Rosa altered nearly most of the details clearly wanted to achieve a very different effect. The artist drew his inspiration from Virgil's Aeneid (8.26–65), in which the weary hero, having finally reached Italy and about to enter into war with Turnus, falls asleep on the bank of the Tiber. The god of the stream appears to him, offering advice and foretelling his future as the founder of the Roman race.