Jason and the Dragon

Jason and the Dragon

c. 1663

Salvator Rosa

(Italian, 1615-1673)


Sheet: 39.1 x 23.7 cm (15 3/8 x 9 5/16 in.)

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Richard H. Zinser 1966.730

Catalogue raisonné: Bartsch XX.275.18 ; Wallance 118


Jason's quest for the Golden Fleece required him to bypass a fearsome dragon, which he was able to do with a sleeping potion given to him by the witch Medea. Rosa selected classical narratives to prove he was a great and learned painter of histories, and he showcased the novelty of being among the first 16th- or 17th-century artists to portray this particular story. Rosa turned the ancient epic into a moody struggle by transmitting the mystery and magic of his earlier witchcraft imagery. Utilizing the energetic and spontaneous qualities of his draftsmanship, the violence of Jason's feat is emphasized by a claustrophobic and savage environment of crags and "blasted" trees that frames the dynamic diagonals of the hero and recoiling dragon.

See also
PR - Etching
Type of artwork: 

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