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After Salvator Rosa, 'The Philosophers' Wood', after 1645

Key facts
Full title The Philosophers' Wood
Artist After Salvator Rosa
Artist dates 1615 - 1673
Date made after 1645
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 148.3 × 220.5 cm
Acquisition credit Bequeathed by Princess Sophia Matilda, 1845
Inventory number NG1892
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
The Philosophers' Wood
After Salvator Rosa

This is a copy of a signed work by Salvator Rosa of about 1645 (now in the Pitti Palace, Florence). It depicts an episode from the life of Diogenes, the ancient Greek philosopher who wanted to be free of all earthly attachments. Upon seeing a boy using his hands to drink from a stream, Diogenes threw away his bowl, his last remaining possession. The philosopher, dressed in blue, appears in the centre of this work, clutching his bowl in his right hand.

During the 1640s, Rosa worked in Florence. He wanted to be seen as a painter of philosophical subjects, but this tranquil scene with its exquisitely painted details, like the glowing light on the horizon that throws the figures and trees into darkness, shows his immense talent for landscape painting. The towering mountains in the distance and silhouetted branches in the foreground would become staple characteristics of his work.

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