ROSA, Salvator
(b. 1615, Arenella, d. 1673, Roma)

Diogenes Casting away his Cup

Oil on canvas, 219 x 148 cm
Private collection

Salvator Rosa painted several versions of this subject, including his famous work painted for Marchese Carlo Gerini in circa 1645-48 (also known as The Philosopher's Grove), now in the Palazzo Pitti, Florence. The story of the philosopher Diogenes of Sinope is recounted by the Greek biographer Diogenes Laertius in his Lives of the Philosophers (vol. VI, chapter 3). A Cynic philosopher, Diogenes lived in Athens and Corinth during the 4th century B.C.. He lived a life of extreme abstinence, renouncing all worldly goods and taking up home in a pithos (or large tub) in the Metroum. The present episode illustrates Diogenes, dressed in a simple cloak and carrying a staff, casting away his cup on witnessing a young boy drinking water using only his hands.