Diogenes with a Lantern, Searching for a True Human Being on the Market Place

Jordaens, Jacob (1593-1678) | Painter


Diogenes, a Greek philosopher of the 4rd century BC, walks about on the market of Athens carrying a burning lantern in broad daylight as he searches for a “true human being”. Jordaens has transferred this story from antiquity to a Flemish farmers’ market crowded with animals, people and goods. The bawdy, cartoonish figures representing country folk mock the philosopher, who looks as if he is about to step out of picture; they simultaneously become an object of ridicule on the part of the viewer.

Material & Technique
Oil on canvas
Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister
c. 1642
Inventory number
Gal.-Nr. 1010