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Brandi, Giacinto
The Weeping Heraclitus The Weeping Heraclitus
around 1690 around 1690

Brandi’s intellectual aspirations surface in this depiction of one of the most prominent of the Presocratic philosophers, Heraclitus (around 535–475 BCE). Born to a noble family in Ephesus, Ionia, Heraclitus developed a complex system of thought founded on the notion that the world is based on constant change and can only be understood through the logos, or speech and reason. The difficult and fragmentary nature of his utterances supported an interpretation of him as dismissive of human endeavour and his popular characterization as the “Weeping Philosopher.” By placing a book next to the philosopher and fixing his gaze on its open pages, Brandi emphasizes Heraclitus’s learning. Most other representations supply an orb or globe as his attribute, to allude to the philosopher’s view of the world in general, and one is included here as well, painted in blue but hidden partly by the book and not readily recognizable.

 
Brandi, Giacinto
Lazio, Italy 1621–Rome, Italy 1691 Lazio, Italy 1621–Rome, Italy 1691
The Weeping Heraclitus The Weeping Heraclitus
around 1690 around 1690
Oil on canvas Oil on canvas
height / width: 119.40 x 91.50 cm; 47.01 x 36.02 in.
Gift of Alfred and Isabel Bader, 1991 Gift of Alfred and Isabel Bader, 1991
34-020.18

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