(b. 1634, Napoli, d. 1705, Napoli)

Democritus and Heraclitus

Oil on canvas, 71 x 56 cm (each)
Private collection

These striking representations of the Greek philosophers Democritus and Heraclitus follow in the tradition of Giordano's well-known Philosopher series from the 1650s. Both these and his earlier compositions are indebted to the work of Jusepe de Ribera, with whom he Giordano is thought to have trained (though there is no documentary evidence proving this was actually the case). Giordano's philosophers from the 1650s are strongly reminiscent of Ribera's single-figure compositions of half-length saints and philosophers of the 1620s and '30s; many of which would have been accessible to Giordano in a number of important Neapolitan collections at the time. Many of the philosophers are shown as beggars ('filosofi-mendicanti') or scientists ('filosofi-scienzati'); that is alchemists, mathematicians, geographers or astrologers.

Both works are framed by painted cartouches and flower garlands, the latter were executed by Giuseppe Recco with whom Giordano often collaborated.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.