Lady Morgan's biography of Rosa

Lady Morgan, popular novelist, poet, and travel writer, published in 1824 The Life and Times of Salvator Rosa, the first biography of a foreign painter to appear in English. It has been criticised for its uncritical acceptance of romantic myths about Rosa, but it is a substantial work which makes significant use of unpublished primary source materials, and it was a popular work which influenced the development of Rosa's reputation in Britain.

She distinguishes the Rosa 's approach to landscape from that of Claude and Gaspar Poussin. In the work of Claude and Gaspar:

Nature in her tranquil beauty always appears the benefactress of man, not his destroyer; the source of his joys not the tomb of his hopes and the scourge of his brief existence; and such she appeared in the landscape of the two powerful geniuses who presided over landscape-painting, when Salvator Rosa came forth upon that arena, which they had hitherto exclusively occupied, and dispelled the splendid but 'unreal mockery' of elements always genial, and nature always undisturbed. His magic pencil threw all into life and motion and fearful activity... and representing nature as he saw her in those mighty regions he most studied, he painted her the inevitable agent of human suffering, mingling all her great operations with the passions and interests of man, blasting him with her thunderbolts! wrecking him in her storms! burying him in her avalanches! and whelming him in her tornadoes. ( Morgan, The Life and Times of Salvator Rosa, I. p. 296)

She stresses his rejection of conventional art education, as he 'rejected the rules of the pedants':

To Salvator Rosa, who had now adopted painting as a profession, the beaten track lay broadly open; but that there was a track, and that a beaten one, was enough to deter him from entering upon it. In his wayward and original mood he left to tamer talent, and more regulated feeling, the hackneyed routine of academies and work -rooms; and striking into a line which no example justified, no precedent recommended, he betook himself to that school where no master lays down the law to aspiring genius, no pupil follows servilely his paralysing dictates: - the school of Nature. ( Morgan, The Life and Times of Salvator Rosa, I. p. 96)

Ruskin's depreciation of Rosa presumably seemed to him the more necessary because of Rosa's reputation for presenting the truth of nature.