Pure landscape painting was not regarded as sufficiently serious in the seventeenth century, so narrative elements were added to the picture to give it a biblical, mythological, or historical subject. While the Finding of Moses is represented in the painting, the true subject is the powerful landscape itself. Rosa's landscape paintings were quite popular in late eighteenth-century England. His depiction of nature, balancing direct observation with the classical tradition of harmony and order, reflected the English sensitivity to nature.
Artist Salvator Rosa, Italian, 1615-1673
Title
  • The Finding of Moses
Date ca. between 1660 and 1665
Medium oil on canvas
Dimensions Unframed: 48 1/2 × 79 3/4 inches (123.2 × 202.6 cm)
Framed: 62 × 92 3/8 × 4 1/2 inches (157.5 × 234.6 × 11.4 cm)
Credit Line Founders Society Purchase with funds from Mr. and Mrs. Edgar B. Whitcomb
Accession Number 47.92
Department European Painting
On View European: Grand Tour of Italy-Rome, Level 2 (see map)
commissioned by Prince (Don) Lorenzo Onofrio Colonna, Grand Constable of Naples;
Prince Lorenzo Onofrio Colonna (Palazzo Colonna, Rome, Italy);
until 1798-1799, Colonna family (Palazzo Colonna, Rome, Italy);
1798-1799, acquired by (William Young Ottley, London, England);
May 16, 1801, sold by (Christie's, London, England) lot 39;
1801, purchased by 3rd Earl Temple, later the Marquess of Buckingham, possibly through Orleans Gallery [for 1500 guineas] (Stowe House, Buckinghamshire, England);
by 1824, by inheritance to his son, 1st Duke of Buckingham and Chandos (Stowe House, Buckinghamshire, England);
September 12, 1848, sold at Stowe House (Buckinghamshire, England) lot 436;
1848, purchased by Mr. Farrar;
Lord Dudley [Earl of Dudley, the former Lord Ward, created 1st Earl of Dudley in February 1860];
June 25, 1892, sold by (Christie's, London, England) lot 85 [for 450 guineas];
1892, purchased by F.E. Goodhart (Chicago, Illinois, USA);
by inheritance to his father-in-law, Mr. Leander J. McCormick (Chicago, Illinois, USA);
1933-1945, by inheritance to his grandson, Mr. Leander McCormick-Goodhart (Langley Park, Silver Spring, Maryland, USA);
1947, (Durlacher Brothers, New York, New York, USA);
purchased by Mr. & Mrs. Edgar B. Whitcomb (Detroit, Michigan, USA);
1947-present, gift to the Detroit Institute of Arts (Detroit, Michigan, USA)
Catalogo dei quadri, e pitture esistenti nel palazzo dell' eccellentissima casa Colonna in Roma. Rome, 1783, p. 26, no. 155.

A Catalogue of the Superb, Capital, and truly Valuable Collection of Celebrated Italian Pictures, Lately Purchased from Colonna, Borghese, and Corsini Palaces, &c. by William Young Ottley, Esq. Sales cat., Christie, Manson & Woods, London, May 16, 1801, p. 8, no. 39. [annotation, "1627..10..0, Baron Woolf."]

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Buchanan, W. Memoirs of Painting, with a Chronological History of the Importation of Pictures by the Great Masters into England since the French Revolution. London, 1824, vol. 2, pp. 20, 27, no. 39. [as in the collection of W. Young Ottley]

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Catalogue of the Art Treasures of the United Kingdom Collected at Manchester in 1857. Exh. cat, City of Manchester. Manchester, 1857, p. 57, no. 757. [as “Landscape” in the list, “Paintings by Ancient Masters” lent by Lord Ward]

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Grigaut, Paul L. "The Finding of Moses by Salvator Rosa." Bulletin of the Detroit Institute of Arts 27, no. 3 (1948): 63–67, pp. 63–67 (ill.).

A Loan Exhibition of Paintings by Salvator Rosa, 1615–1673. Exh. cat., Durlacher Brothers. New York, 1948, unpaginated, cat. 19.

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Muti, L. and de Sarno Prignano, D. Antonio Francesco Peruzzini. Faenza, 1996, pp. 57-59, figs. 18–19 (ill.).

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Wissman, Fronia E. European Vistas: Cultural Landscapes. Exh. cat., Detroit Institute of Arts. Detroit, 2000, pp. 21–22 (ill.).

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