An oil canvas of Aristotle by Francesco Hayez (1811)

Aristotle by Francesco Hayez Oil on canvas (1811)

Francesco Hayez (1791-1882) was an Italian painter who was known for his romantic style and his depictions of historical and literary figures. In 1811, he painted a portrait of Aristotle, which is now considered one of his most famous works.

The oil canvas painting shows the ancient Greek philosopher and polymath seated on a throne-like chair, wearing a red and gold robe and holding a book in his hand. The background is a dark-brownish, dramatic scene with columns and arches, giving the impression of a grand hall or library.

Hayez’s portrait of Aristotle captures the philosopher’s dignity and intellectual prowess, conveying a sense of respect for his intellectual legacy. The painting is notable for its attention to detail, particularly in the folds of the clothing and the intricate patterns on the book’s cover.

The portrait of Aristotle by Hayez is representative of the broader cultural fascination with classical antiquity that characterized the Romantic era. It also reflects the interest of intellectuals and artists of the time in exploring the ideals and values of ancient Greece and Rome, as they sought to understand the origins of Western culture and civilization.

In summary, Hayez’s portrait of Aristotle is a powerful representation of the philosopher’s enduring legacy, capturing his intellectual authority and impact on Western thought and culture.

A brief history of Ancient Athens and how it became the birthplace of Western Civilization

Who was Francesco Hayez?

Francesco Hayez (1791-1882) was an Italian painter who is considered one of the leading figures of the Romantic movement in Italian art. He was born in Venice and trained at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Venice, where he studied under prominent painters of the time.

Hayez’s artistic style was characterized by its romantic and emotional themes, often depicting historical and literary subjects. He had a particular talent for capturing the human figure and conveying deep emotions through his paintings. His works often evoked a sense of drama, melancholy, and passion, reflecting the spirit of the Romantic era.

One of Hayez’s most famous paintings is “The Kiss,” which depicts a passionate embrace between two lovers. This painting, with its exquisite attention to detail and emotional intensity, has become an iconic image in art history. It is said that when making his 1954 historical melodrama film “Senso”, Italian director Luchino Visconti (1906-1976) took inspiration from this Hayez’s painting for one of the scenes of the movie.

Other notable works of Francesco Hayez include: Reclining Odalisque (1839), Destruction of Temple of Jerusalem (1867), Ballerina Carlotta Chabert as Venus (1830), and Susanna at her Bath (1859).

Throughout his career, the Venice-born painter received numerous accolades and honors for his artistic achievements. He served as the director of the Brera Academy in Milan and was appointed as the official painter of the Austrian court in Lombardy-Venetia.

On February 12, 1882, Hayez died in Milan, age 91. His studio at the Brera Academy is marked with a plate.

Interesting Facts about Aristotle