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Aristotle Refusing the Hemlock (?)

Photo credit: Wellcome Collection

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The figures are similar to those in a painting of Diogenes and Alexander attributed to G. B. Langetti in the Fondazione Querini Stampalia, Venice. The face of the philospher is also similar to a painting of Hagar and the angel attributed to Johann Carl Loth and offered for sale at Sotheby's, Monaco, 15–16 June 1990, lot 342. The story circulated in antiquity that the philosopher Aristotle was indicted for impiety and required to follow the example of Socrates by committing suicide, but that he refused to drink the hemlock and fled instead to Chalcis with the remark that he 'would not give the Athenians a second chance to sin against philosophy'. This is assumed to be the subject of the present picture, though no other painting of the subject has been identified.


Aristotle Refusing the Hemlock (?)


oil on canvas


H 114.5 x W 114.5 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

purchased by Henry S. Wellcome, c.1900–1936

Work type



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Wellcome Collection

183 Euston Road, London, Greater London NW1 2BE England

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