Aristotle Contemplating a Bust of Homer
|Artist||Rembrandt van Rijn|
|Dimensions||143.5 cm × 136.5 cm (56.5 in × 53.7 in)|
Aristotle Contemplating a Bust of Homer is an oil-on-canvas painting by Rembrandt van Rijn. It was painted in 1653, as a commission from Don Antonio Ruffo, from Messina in Sicily, who did not request a particular subject.
Aristotle, world-weary, looks at the bust of blind, humble Homer, on which he rests one of his hands. This has variously been interpreted as the man of sound, methodical science deferring to Art, or as the wealthy and famous philosopher, wearing the jeweled belt given to him by Alexander the Great, envying the life of the poor blind bard. It has also been suggested that this is Rembrandt's commentary on the power of portraiture.
The interpretation of methodical science deferring to art is discussed at length in  in which Held notes that Aristotle's right hand, traditionally the favored hand, is on the bust of Homer, is higher, and painted lighter than the left hand on the gold chain given to him by Alexander.
- Held, Julius (1969). Rembrandt's Aristotle and Other Rembrandt Studies. Princeton University Press.
- Metropolitan Museum of Art page on this painting
- New York Times abstract of its article on the sale
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