Salvator Rosa

The Return of the Prodigal Son

c. 1655-1665
The prodigal son is welcomed back by his father, who has summoned his servants to bring robes with which to clothe him. The compact space, framed by the architecture of a portico, concentrates our attention on the human drama. The marks of the brush are plainly visible, and the surfaces of cloth and flesh agitated. Parts of the work - the son's shirt, for example - have been painted with astonishing freedom: the strokes of thick white were laid down rapidly, leaving the paint below visible in places. Rosa also left the dull red ground (the prepared surface of the canvas) exposed in certain passages, incorporating it into the work. Frame: running moulding with carved ornament. Britain (?), 18th century.
Title
The Return of the Prodigal Son
Date
c. 1655-1665
Medium
Painting
Materials
oil on canvas
Dimensions
200 x 118 cm
Nationality
Italian
Credit line
Purchased 1981
Accession number
26809