A painter, etcher, satirical poet and musician, Rosa was one of the most original and extravagant artistic personalities in seventeenth-century Italy. He trained in his native city, probably initially with his brother-in-law Francesco Fracanzano, and then with the battle painter Aniello Falcone. Rosa’s early work consists mainly of rugged mountainous landscapes and coastal scenes populated by travellers and bandits, and, somewhat to his frustration, paintings of this kind remained his most popular and influential works for the rest of his life. Rosa worked in Rome from 1635 and then in Florence in the 1640s, returning definitively to Rome in 1649. As his career advanced he aspired to make his mark as a figurative painter in the grand manner, often selecting obscure, learned subjects from classical history and complex allegories. He also painted scenes of witchcraft and the occult. Rosa cultivated a reputation as a painter-philosopher, rejecting the traditional prescriptive relationship between patron and painter, and championing artistic independence and creative freedom. As a proto-Romantic, he was hugely influential in shaping eighteenth-century taste and aesthetics, especially in Britain, where his work was collected avidly.