Pietro Testa Lucca, Italy, 1611/12 – Rome, 1650 *The Triumph of the Virtuous Artist on Parnassus*, circa 1645 Etching with drypoint The Leo Steinberg Collection, 2002.1777 The striding figure with an outstretched hand depicted here represents the anonymous artist as he ascends Mount Parnassus, the mythical home of Apollo and the Muses, goddesses who personify the arts. The artist is accompanied by Wisdom, whose torch lights the artist’s path and blinds the figures of vices, like Envy, behind him. The winged and trumpeting Fame crowns the artist, while Time is restrained by shackles at the lower left, his hourglass beside him. Thus, the artist is shown to take his place among the Muses while achieving fame and overcoming time—and therefore mortality—thanks both to his virtuous nature and his enduring artistic creations.
Salvator Rosa Naples, Italy, 1615 – Rome, 1673 *The Genius of Rosa*, circa 1662 Etching and drypoint Archer M. Huntington Museum Fund, 1992.289 In this allegorical self-portrait, Salvator Rosa depicts his Genius—his guiding spirit—reclining at the lower right. Rosa’s Genius ignores the cornucopia of coins spilling out beside him, instead looking to the female figure of Sincerity, to whom he offers his heart. Meanwhile, Liberty places a cap historically associated with freedom on Genius’s head. Rosa was one of the fiercest early champions of artistic autonomy, arguing he should not be beholden to a patron’s wishes. Indeed, Rosa is said to have denied advance payment for his paintings, so that he could feel free to work as he wished. The inscription, which translates to “Sincere, free, fiery painter, and equable, despiser of wealth and death, this is my genius,” emphasizes Rosa’s independence and echoes his frequent written critiques of contemporary society.
François Boucher Paris, 1703–1770 *The Graces at the Tomb of Watteau*, frontispiece to the *Figures de différents caractères, de paysages, et d’étude dessinés d’aprés nature par Antoine Watteau*, vol. II, 1728 Etching Archer M. Huntington Museum Fund, 1995.33
Unknown French or Italian artist *An Allegory of the Arts*, 18th century Red chalk The Suida-Manning Collection, 275.1999