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Rosa da Tivoli (Philip Peter Roos)


German, Baroque Painter

Stylistically influenced by the following painters - Johan Heinrich Roos and Frans Hals,

Education - studied under his father Johan Heinrich Roos

Cause of Death - unknown


Philip Peter Roos was born into a family of successful painters. His father, Johan Heinrich Roos, immigrated to Frankfurt, Germany from the Netherlands to escape war and famine. Given instruction in art from a very young age young Philip showed great promise and quickly came to the attention of Philip I of Hesse. The monarch  felt the young artist would greatly benefit by studying in Rome and gave him a stipend for transport, study and lodging.  Philip settled in the elegant Italian town of Tivoli and adopted the towns name as his own. He fell in love with the relaxed Italian way of life and was soon the owner of a tumble down villa. From the 1680s he was know as Rosa da Tivoli.

  Rosa da Tivoli career began brilliantly. He was an immediate if not overnight success. His masterly style made him a fast favorite with the upper crust. Like his father Tivoli's favorite themes centered around rural life. The artist painted sleepy herdsmen, cows grazing on green grass and buxom milk maids happily going about their chores. His paintings are large and dreamy. He painted directly from nature, spending hours outdoors at his  friends country estates painting horses, cattle, flora, streams, hills and farm workers. His compositions are tranquil. His color choices exquisite.

Rosa da Tivoli was highly sought after for his wistful landscapes, evocative backgrounds and brilliant skies.  He gave the animals he painted individual  personalities and their eyes in particular are very expressive. The artists love of animals was so great that he seldom ate meat and once whipped a man who was abusing a street dog.  His shabby house was always filled with stray dogs, cats and an assortment of semi tame wild animals.

Unfortunately the artist was not much of a business man. According to Art Historian S. Spooner  "Rosa da Tivoli unfortunately fell into extravagant and dissipated habits, which frequently caused him great inconvenience. From his facility, he multiplied his pictures to such an extent as greatly to depreciate their value. It is related that he would sit down, when pressed for money, dispatch a large picture in a few hours, and send it directly to be sold at any price. His servant, possessing more discretion than his master, usually paid him the highest price offered by the dealers, and kept the pictures himself, till he could dispose of them to more advantage... "

Significant  Words  and Phrases associated with the Baroque era rebirth, rediscovery of the classical world,  Baroque Painting, spiritually significant, Protestants, Caravaggio Rembrandt,
economic prosperity,  idealized biblical themes, cultural elite, Council of Trent, textile industry, chiaroscuro, seascapes, Age of Discovery, axonometric drawing, curiosity about the natural world,  realistic use of colors and  light, history painting, Utrecht Caravaggism, Portrait painting, Burghers, Family portraits, ethereal and foggy backgrounds, Gospel parables, The Black death, romanticized landscapes,  Christian symbolism.

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References: Anecdotes of Painters, Engravers, Sculptors and Architects and Curiosities of Art (Vol. 3 of 3)

Author: S. Spooner

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