Oil on canvas
37 x 27 cm
Provenance : Coll. part. Paris
Comparative bibliography : Paola Pacht Bassani, Claude Vignon 1593-1670, Arthéna 1992,
p. 364, n. 300
Previously known by an engraving and, more recently, by a drawing in a private collection, this composition is a recent discovery whose autograph character has been confirmed by the artist's specialist, Mrs. Paola Pacht Bassani, whom we would like to thank for her help in writing this note. According to her, the work still belongs to the precious phase of the artist's Parisian career, with a tendency towards a certain schematization of the forms, leading the historian to date the work around 1639-40. The corresponding engraving is part of a series devoted to the Seven Wise Men of Greece, of which no other painted version is known.
Absent from the print and the drawing, the working cabinet serving as a setting (or better still: as a case) for the scholar is here richly decorated with furniture and precious hangings. The figure is represented in the antique style, laurelled and dressed in a himation (woolen coat worn by the Greeks). Because of its small size, this cabinet painting could have been designed to be inserted into a decor composed of several illustrious figures from antiquity.