Aristotle contemplating a bust of Homer (1653) by Rembrandt van Rijn

Aristotle contemplating a bust of Homer - Rembrandt van Rijn - 1653

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Artwork Information

TitleAristotle contemplating a bust of Homer
ArtistRembrandt van Rijn
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions143.5 x 136.5 cm
Art MovementBaroque
Current LocationMetropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, NY, US
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About Aristotle contemplating a bust of Homer

Aristotle Contemplating a Bust of Homer, also known as Aristotle with a Bust of Homer, is a commissioned painting by Rembrandt van Rijn in 1653. Depicted in the painting is Aristotle resting his hand on a bust of Homer while wearing an elaborate dress and jewelry. The medallion hanging from his chain depicts Alexander the Great. On the other hand, Homer was portrayed as a poor and blind epic poet.

The painting combines both realism and imagination while based on Aristotle’s teachings on the three modes of human life. Although the choice of its subject remains uncertain, it was identified mainly through Aristotle’s facial features, long hair and beard, intricate clothing attire, among other characteristics associated with him.

Measuring 143.5 cm × 136.5 cm, this painting is considered one of the greatest portraits in 17th century Dutch paintings due to its impressive composition and execution style. Commissioned by Sicilian nobleman Don Antonio Ruffo without any particular symbol or narrative requests but had been recognized as one of Rembrandt’s best works subsequently.

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