The painting shows an openly challenging and brooding character, which is underlined by the Latin inscription on the stone, lower left, below the right hand of the painter: 'Be quiet, unless your speech be better than silence'. In composition and in its sombre colouring the portrait recalls the half-length representations of Philosophy that Ribera had popularised in Naples.

The painting was probably painted about 1645 at the beginning of Rosa's period in Florence, and is first recorded there in the Niccolini collection.

Key facts

Artist dates
1615 - 1673
Full title
Date made
about 1645
Medium and support
Oil on canvas
116.3 x 94 cm
Acquisition credit
Presented by the 6th Marquis of Lansdowne in memory of his father, 1933
Inventory number
Location in Gallery