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

About Aristotle contemplating a bust of Homer

The artwork titled “Aristotle contemplating a bust of Homer” is a striking oil on canvas creation by the renowned artist Rembrandt van Rijn, dating from 1653. Measuring 143.5 by 136.5 cm, this Baroque-era masterpiece falls within the genres of portrait and history painting. It is currently housed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, located in New York City, NY, US.

The artwork captures a contemplative moment as Aristotle, depicted with a solemn expression, rests his hand upon a bust of the ancient Greek poet Homer. Rembrandt employs his mastery of light and shadow, known as chiaroscuro, to dramatic effect; the figures seem to emerge from the dark background with a remarkable sense of depth. The philosopher’s richly adorned apparel, with elaborate fabrics and a prominent gold chain, contrasts with the timeless, unadorned visage of Homer. This contrast not only highlights Aristotle’s tactile engagement with Homer’s legacy but also suggests a philosophical inquiry into the value of material wealth and intellectual achievement. Rembrandt’s signature is discretely placed on the base of the bust, anchoring the work within his illustrious oeuvre.

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