Aristotle with a Bust of Homer

Rembrandt (Rembrandt van Rijn) Dutch

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 616

Among the most celebrated works of art at The Met, this painting conveys Rembrandt’s meditation on the meaning of fame. The richly clad Greek philosopher Aristotle (384–322 BCE) rests his hand pensively on a bust of Homer, the epic poet who had attained literary immortality with his Iliad and Odyssey centuries before. Aristotle wears a gold medallion with a portrait of his powerful pupil, Alexander the Great—perhaps the philosopher is weighing his own worldly success against Homer’s timeless achievement. Although the work has come to be considered quintessentially Dutch, it was painted for a Sicilian patron at a moment when Rembrandt’s signature style, with its dark palette and almost sculptural buildup of paint, was beginning to fall out of fashion in Amsterdam.

#5181. Aristotle with a Bust of Homer, Part 1



  1. 5181. Aristotle with a Bust of Homer, Part 1
  2. 126. The Director's Tour, Second Floor: Aristotle with a Bust of Homer
Aristotle with a Bust of Homer, Rembrandt (Rembrandt van Rijn) (Dutch, Leiden 1606–1669 Amsterdam), Oil on canvas

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