An artist from Spain, Diego Velazquez, painted a portrait of Democritus in 1629. Some art historians believe that the picture was created under the influence of Rubens. In any case, there is no reason to deny Velazquez's skill in this beautiful work of art.
Democritus lived in ancient times, even before our era, in Greece. Belonged to representatives of natural philosophy. The Spanish painter portrayed the philosopher in clothing uncharacteristic of his era. Democritus looks like a contemporary of Velazquez in the picture. He is wearing sewn clothes, a white elegant collar. So the ancient philosopher becomes closer and more understandable for connoisseurs of paintings of Velazquez in the 17th century.
The ancient Greek philosopher was shown to us not by a wise gray-bearded old man, but by a man full of enthusiasm with an adventure in his eyes. Democritus was known as the philosopher "laughing." He was amused by the actions and views of his contemporaries. This famous sarcastic grin is easy to read in the portrait.
On the canvas, the background is painted over with a dense layer of brown oil paint. Lighting falls on the figure of Democritus and objects on the table. With the finger of his left hand, the philosopher points to the large globe set on the table. He traveled a lot, so this item perfectly emphasizes the personality of the character. Nearby are books, showing the depicted person as inquisitive, intelligent, deeply thinking.
Perfectly crafted fabric folds on clothes. The painting is also perfectly executed from an anatomical point of view. A man’s hand, his face with facial wrinkles, a mustache and hairstyle are depicted with great care and detail.
The ancient philosopher lived as a hermit, but Velazquez presented him as very pious. An elegant gentleman looks at us from a portrait, pondering the discovery of the next law of philosophy.
The painting is in French Rouen, in the Museum of Fine Arts.
Peter Brueghel The Country Of Lazybones