Alexander and Diogenes and more art by Salvator Rosa

Alexander and Diogenes, c. 1661
45 x 27 cm (h x w)
etching and drypoint on paper
not for sale
[Des Moines Art Center Permanent Collections; Gift of the Des Moines Art Center Print Club, 1982.13]

(Gift Print, 1982)
This etching, Print Club’s first gift to the Des Moines Art Center, depicts Pliny’s account of the meeting between Alexander the Great and the Greek Cynic philosopher Diogenes, who lived in a barrel. As the General approached, the philosopher gestured for him to get out of his sunlight. Alexander is said to have commented that if he weren’t himself, he would wish to be Diogenes.

During the 17th century, etchers developed new recipes for varnishes and acids that helped make etching a more reliable process for artists. Painter-etchers such as Rosa could now control the depth and width of etched lines by etching their plates with multiple timed bites.

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