Catalogue No. 72
Diogenes

Artist: Preti, Mattia (Called Cavalieri Calabrese)
Diogenes

1613-99
Oil on Canvas 36¾ x 27 ins

Collection Details
With Viancini, Venice; with Agnew, 1968, from whom bought by the Faringdon Trustees the following year.

Literature
B Nicolson, Burlington Magazine, cx, 1968, p.638, fig.53.

Exhibition Details
Agnew, Baroque and Rococo 17th and 18th Century Italian Pictures, 1968, No.19.

Background
Diogenes is shown with the lantern that he is said to have carried through Athens at mid-day.  When asked why he was doing this, he explained that he was looking for an honest man, and the search was as futile.

 

Comparison is made in the Agnew exhibition catalogue between the figure in the present painting and the right-hand figure in the Two Philosophers by Preti in the Capitoline Museum, Rome (cf Refice Taschetta, Mattia Preti, 1959, No.65, repd).  The resemblance does not appear to be sufficiently close to warrant the assumption that the Diogenes is, like the Two Philosophers, a late work, and indeed it would seem more like a youthful pastiche of Ribera’s pictures of Philosophers, if it is by Preti.