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Glaucus and Scylla

Derived from Ovid’s Metamorphoses, this print illustrates the tragic story of the maiden Scylla, who is seen while bathing by Glaucus, a mortal recently transformed into a sea god. Glaucus pleads to be her lover, but Scylla, startled by his monstrous appearance, flees. Scylla is later poisoned in her bathing pool by a jealous Circe, who favors Glaucus. Scylla’s legs are transformed into barking dogs and fixed to the shoreline, where she became a cruel wrecker of ships.

The print and its companion piece, Apollo and the Cumaean Sibyl, share the theme of a mortal woman foolishly rejecting the advances of a god. Such stories appealed to Rosa’s baroque sensibilities with their mixture of magic, cruelty, and dark passions.

Salvator Rosa
Italian, 1615–1673
Glaucus and Scylla
1661–62
Etching and drypoint on paper
Image/plate: 14 x 9 1/8 in. (35.6 x 23.2 cm); sheet: 16 ¾ x 11 3/4 in. (42.5 x 29.8 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Collection of Diether Thimme, 98.293