An image of Democritus in meditation

Salvator Rosa

(Italy 1615 – 1673)

Democritus in meditation

Location
Not on display
Further information

Democritus, a pre-Socratic philosopher born around 460 BC, shunned society and declined public honours in order to pursue undisturbed his studies and, in Rosa's interpretation, melancholy speculations. Rosa altered the traditional image of Democritus as the laughing philosopher, here showing him overwhelmed with grief and despair in the face of the vanity and futility of all things. The inscription proclaims: 'Democritus, the mocker of all things is here stopped by the ending of all things'.

Year
1662
Media
Print
Medium
etching and drypoint
Dimensions
46.3 x 27.7 cm platemark; 46.6 x 27.9 cm sheet (irreg.)
Signature & date

Not signed. Not dated.

Credit
Gift of Margaret Delmer 1985
Accession number
247.1985