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A harbour scene
Rosa, Salvator
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Rosa, Salvator

Arenella, Naples, 1615 - Rome, 1673

See author's file

A harbour scene

1638 - 1639. Oil on canvas.
Not on display

This work poses two main problems. The first is its assignment to the Buen Retiro group, and the second, directly linked to the first, is its date. In 1961 Marcel G. Roethlisberger noted the painting’s possible link to the palace, but did not consider it one of those works originally commissioned because he was unable to find mention of it in the testament of Charles II.

Barbara Von Barghahn did find it listed there, but her opinion was not taken into consideration by later scholars.

In fact, there is considerable proof that it is part of the Buen Retiro group. On its lower left the work bears the number 180 in white, corresponding to its inventory number in Charles II’s testament, in which it appears as part of the gallery of landscapes. On the far right the name of the Spanish monarch Philip IV appears on a tombstone. A very worn and barely identifiable coat of arms above the inscription may possibly be that of Manuel de Moura, 2nd Marquis of Castel Rodrigo, who managed the Roman part of this decorative project. Identifications like this are a frequent device in Rosa’s works, and can be seen in View of a bay, 1640 (Galería Estense, Modena), or Seascape with lighthouse, 1641, a work commissioned in Florence by Prince Giovan Carlo de Medici (Galleria Palatina di Palazzo Pitti, Florence), which shows the galleys of Santo Stefano bearing the Medici coats of arms on their sterns. Moreover, the manner in which this work is rendered with extremely light glazes over a dark primer, both in the vegetation and the sky, suggests that Rosa carefully studied the works of Herman van Swanevelt and Andries Both, who also painted for the Buen Retiro project.

The chronology of A harbour scene has also been subject to debate. Hermann Voss considered it contemporary with Rosa’s Florentine paintings (now at the Palazzo Pitti, Florence, and the Cleveland Museum of Art), which he judged to be between 1640 and 1645. He assigned the same date to the present work, and this was accepted by Alfonso E. Pérez Sánchez and all later scholars who studied it. However, this painting shows Rosa’s style in an earlier state, with a more summary line in both the vegetation and the architecture, as well as in the anatomy of his figures. In fact, some of the latter, such as the semi-nude character with crossed arms, appear in earlier works. All of this indicates that the present work was painted just before the three he made for Francesco d’Este, Duke of Modena, in 1640.

While there are numerous seascapes among the Buen Retiro works, there is no record of any having been commissioned in Rome. That makes this work a rarity. Its presence is a new indication (as also occurs with Claude Lorrain) of the freedom with which painters involved in this project occasionally interpreted their commissions (Úbeda de los Cobos, A.: Italian Masterpieces. From Spain´s Royal Court, Museo del Prado, 2014, p. 212).

Technical data

Inventory number
Rosa, Salvator
A harbour scene
1638 - 1639
Height: 170 cm; Width: 260 cm
Royal Collection (Buen Retiro Palace, Madrid, 1701-1703, n. 180; Buen Retiro Palace, 1794, n. 47).

Bibliography +

Colección litográfica de cuadros del Rey de España el Señor, I, Madrid, 1826, pp. estampa 49.

Voss, Hermann, Die Malerei des Barock in Rom, Propylaen Verlag, Berlín, 1924, pp. 571.

Roethlisberger, Marcel, Claude Lorrain. The Paintings, I, New Haven, 1961, pp. 157, 160 y nota 9.

Salerno, Luigi, Salvator Rosa, Club del Libro, 1963, pp. 144.

Pérez Sánchez, Alfonso E., Pintura italiana del S. XVII en España, Universidad Fundación Valdecilla, Madrid, 1965, pp. 435.

Pérez Sánchez, Alfonso E., Pintura italiana del siglo XVII: exposición conmemorativa del ciento cincuenta aniversario de la fundación del Museo del Prado, Ministerio de Educación y Ciencia, Madrid, 1970, pp. 478.

Salas, Xavier de, Museo del Prado. Catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1972, pp. 571.

Inventarios reales: testamentaria del Rey Carlos II : 1701-1, II, Museo del PradoPatronato Nacional de Museos, Madrid, 1975, pp. 291.

Salerno, Luigi, L'opera completa di Salvator Rosa, Rizzoli, Milan, 1975, pp. 78, nº50.

Ferrari, O., Salvator Rosa, Pittore e Poeta Nel Centenario Della Morte., Accademia Nazionale Dei Lincee, 1975, pp. 409 n.53.

Claudio de Lorena y el ideal clásico de paisaje en el siglo, Ministerio de Cultura, Dirección General de Bellas, Madrid, 1984, pp. 180.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1985, pp. 573.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Pintura napolitana: de Caravaggio a Giordano, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1985, pp. 280 / lám. 116.

Barghahn, Barbara Von, Philip IV and the Golden House of the Buen Retiro in the Tradition of Caesar, Garland PublishingInc, Nueva York. Londres, 1986, pp. 795.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado. Inventario general de pinturas (I) La Colección Real, Museo del Prado, Espasa Calpe, Madrid, 1990, pp. nº743.

Buendía, José Rogelio, El Prado. Colecciones de Pintura, Lunwerg Editores, Barcelona, 1994, pp. 318.

Filosofico umore e maravigliosa speditezza : pittura napolet..., Giunti: Firenze musei, Florencia, 2007, pp. 150-151.

Langdon, Helen, Salvator Rosa, Paul Holberton Publishing, 2010, pp. 136-137.

Roma naturaleza e ideal: paisajes 1600-1650, Museo Nacional del Prado, 2011, pp. 75, 164-165.

Ubeda de los Cobos, A, Salvator Rosa 'A harbour scene' En:, Italian masterpieces from Spain's royal court, Museo del Prado, National Gallery of Victoria Thames & Hudson, 2014, pp. 212.

Castillo Álvarez, Silvia, Marcos, muebles y maderas: obras de carpintería, ebasnistería y enmarcado en el Museo del Prado (1818-38), Boletín del Museo del Prado, XXXIII (51), 2015, pp. 100-111 [102 nt.26].

Portús Pérez, Javier, Velázquez and the Celebration of Painting: The Golden Age in the Museo del Prado, The Yomiuri Shimbun: The National Museum of Western Art, Tokio, 2018, pp. n.39.

Other inventories +

Inv. Testamentaría Carlos II, Buen Retiro, 1701-1703. Núm. 180.
[180] Un Pais de tres Uaras menos quarta de largo y dos Uaras de alto Con Vna riuera de mar y nauichuelos y gentte nadando Con marco tallado y dorado tasado en ochenta doblones ... 4800

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1872-1907. Núm. 356.
356.-Marina.-Vista del golfp y ciudad de Salerno. / Alto 1,70. Ancho 2,60.-Lienzo. / Es una ancha ria, con tierra á derecha é izquierda, embarcaciones mayores hácia la salida y barcas de pescadores más adentro, cielo anubarrado y sol naciente. A la derecha hay un resto de construccion, y en un muro macizo una lápida con una inscripción, en que se leen con toda claridad las palabras PHILIPPVS IV, entre otras ya ilegibles, y encima un blason en forma de urna cineraria. A la izquierda, sobre un promontorio, hay un castillo, y al pié una pequeña poblacion. En primer término, gente que se está...

Inv. Testamentaría Carlos III, Buen Retiro, 1794. Núm. 47.
Otra [pintura], un Pais con una rivera de mar con Navichuelos y gente nadando, de tres varas menos quarta de largo y dos varas de alto con marco dorado...1000

Inv. Real Museo, 1857. Núm. 743.
Salvator Rosa. / 743. Marina. Vista del golfo y ciudad de Salerno / En el mar hay buques. A lo lejos montañas y poblaciones. En primer termino unos hombres bañándose, y otros en la playa algo mas distantes. (C.L.) / Alto 6 pies, 1 pulg; ancho 9 pies, 4 pulg.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1854-1858. Núm. 743.

Inscriptions +

RS [Momograma en fardo del primer término]
Signed. Front, lower central area

PHLIPPVS IV [sobre un escudo, el resto de la inscripción ilegible]
Inscribed in dark color. Front, right side

[escudo ilegible]
Inscribed in dark color. Front, right side

Inscribed in orange. Front, lower left corner

Inscribed in white. Front, lower left corner

Inscribed in white. Front, lower right corner

Exhibitions +

Velázquez and the Celebration of Painting: the Golden Age in the Museo del Prado
13.06.2018 - 14.10.2018

Velázquez and the Celebration of Painting: the Golden Age in the Museo del Prado
24.02.2018 - 27.05.2018

Velázquez and the Celebration of Painting: the Golden Age in the Museo del Prado
20.02.2018 - 27.05.2018

Italian Masterpieces from Spain's Royal Court. Museo Nacional del Prado
16.05.2014 - 31.08.2014

Rome: Nature and the Ideal. Landscapes 1600-1650
05.07.2011 - 25.09.2011

Salvator Rosa (1615-1673): Bandits, Wilderness and Magic
Fort Worth
12.12.2010 - 27.03.2011

Displayed objects +


Transport, Maritime / Transport, River

Update date: 23-12-2022 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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