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Diogenes Seeking an Honest Man

A work made of etching on cream laid paper.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of etching on cream laid paper.




Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione
Italian, 1609-1664

About this artwork

Diogenes the Cynic, a contemporary of Plato, is famous for having been an outspoken and contentious critic of convention. Believing that virtue was better revealed through action than theory, he maintained an ascetic lifestyle while deliberately acting out against what he found to be irrational societal customs. In this etching, Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione showed Diogenes searching by lamplight, during the daytime, for a rational man. Instead of finding a man, the shoeless philosopher stumbles upon bones, vegetables, decaying bits of statues, and scavenging owls and monkeys.


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Prints and Drawings


Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione


Diogenes Seeking an Honest Man


Italy (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.

Made 1645–1647


Etching on cream laid paper


Image: 21.9 × 30.6 cm (8 5/8 × 12 1/16 in.); Plate: 22 × 31 cm (8 11/16 × 12 1/4 in.)

Credit Line

The Charles Deering Collection

Reference Number


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