The Dream of Aeneas

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

Date: 1660–65

Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 77 1/2 x 47 1/2 in. (196.9 x 120.7 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Rogers Fund, 1965

Accession Number: 65.118


Rosa was much sought after for his landscapes, but his ambition was to succeed as a history painter. One of Rosa’s best pictures, this is a highly poetic visualization of a celebrated literary source about the foundation of Rome, Virgil’s Aeneid. Aeneas sleeps on the banks of the river Tiber at night. "And there appeared to him the God of the place, old Tiber himself, who arose from his pleasant stream amid poplar leaves. A fine linen clothed him in gray raiment, and shady reeds covered his hair. Then he spoke to Aeneas, and assuaged all his care with his words . . . . ‘This spot shall be the place for your city.’"