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Antonio Diziani (Venice 1737-after 1797)
Antonio Diziani (Venice 1737-after 1797)

Peasants eating in a farmyard

Details
Antonio Diziani (Venice 1737-after 1797)
Peasants eating in a farmyard
oil on canvas
51 x 83 in. (129.6 x 210.8 cm.)
Provenance
Mrs. Dalwood, London, 1905.
Lady Hayes, Winscombe Hall, Somerset.

Lot Essay

Born in Thebes, Crates (c. 365-285 B.C.) moved to Athens, where he was won over by the example of Diogenes of Sinop (c. 400-325 B.C.), and became famous for the whole-hearted way in which he embraced Cynic doctrine. Having renounced his large fortune, and restricting himself to absolute necessities, he achieved a high-degree of self-sufficiency. Hipparchia, the daughter of a rich family, threatened suicide in order to persuade her parents to let her share his life.

The Cynics, whose name derives from Diogenes' nickname, kyn [the dog], developed no elaborate philosophical system and were never organized into a school, so in practice they embraced a range of beliefs while maintining as their central tenet that self-sufficiency could bring contentment in all the vicissitudes of life. Crates originated the type of Cynic philosopher who wandered the Greek world with stick and knapsack, the frequent object of mockery. Cynic beggars of this kind suddenly proliferated in the first and second centuries A.D., and still existed in the sixth; the contrast between them and true Cynic philosophers became a literary commonplace.
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