The Death of Socrates
oil on canvas
36 x 43 in. (93.5 x 111 cm.)
Private collection, London.
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Stylistically, it is likely that the present work dates to Zanchi’s early maturity, when his works took on a distinct tenebrism. The figure of Socrates can be closely compared with the central figures in Job Derided (Wawel Castle, Cracow) and Abraham teaching Astrology to the Egyptians in the Church of Santa Maria del Giglio, Venice, both dating to circa 1665.
Here the artist has taken the final moments of the philosopher Socrates, as recounted by Plato in the Phaedo. Socrates, having been convicted of corrupting the Athenian youth and introducing false gods, was forced to choose between recanting his beliefs or the sentence of death. The great philosopher chose the latter option and is shown here accepting a cup of hemlock poison, the chosen method of execution.
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This lot is offered without reserve and will be sold to the highest bidder regardless of the pre-sale estimate.
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