This brooding, wild-looking man is identified by some scholars as Saint Onuphrius, a Christian hermit who spent sixty years alone in the Egyptian wilderness, praying and meditating. Onuphrius is commonly depicted as an elderly, almost disturbed man deep in contemplation, covered by his unkempt hair and beard, and clothed usually in leaves rather than fur.

Salvator Rosa—best known as a painter, but also an etcher, poet, musician, and actor—nurtured a bohemian reputation. His unconventional subject matter—witches, bandits, ascetics—and rugged, moody landscapes made him a hero to artists of the Romantic movement more than a century later.

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