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Ceres and Phytalus

A work made of etching with drypoint in black on ivory laid paper.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of etching with drypoint in black on ivory laid paper.


c. 1662


Salvator Rosa
Italian, 1615-1673

About this artwork

Salvator Rosa produced 17 large etchings in the early 1660s, frequently adopting mythological lore peppered with classical literature. Ceres and Phytalus deliciously celebrates the fig, of which Rosa was particularly fond. Phytalus, a king of Attica, is said to have given the goddess Ceres shelter on her journey to find her daughter Proserpina, whom Pluto had abducted into the underworld. Rosa’s inscription reads, “Here the hero Phytalus had received Ceres into his house, on whom she first bestowed the seeds of the sacred fruit which mortals call the FIG.” This honeyed crop subsequently became a staple of Mediterranean cuisine.


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Prints and Drawings


Salvator Rosa


Ceres and Phytalus


Italy (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Etching with drypoint in black on ivory laid paper


Image/plate: 35.2 × 23.6 cm (13 7/8 × 9 5/16 in.); Sheet: 46.4 × 33.6 cm (18 5/16 × 13 1/4 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Pia Gallo in honor of Martha Tedeschi

Reference Number


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