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Polycrates and the Fisherman

A work made of oil on canvas.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of oil on canvas.




Salvator Rosa
Italian, 1615–1673

About this artwork

This painting and its companion piece recount the story of the Greek king Polycrates, as told by the ancient historian Herodotus. Polycrates, ruler of the island of Samos, worried that he was tempting fate with his great prosperity. He tried to introduce some counterbalancing misfortune into his life by throwing a precious signet ring into the sea, but it was swallowed by a large fish and returned to the king by a fisherman, the episode shown here. Polycrates’s good fortune came to an end when he was entrapped by Oroetus of Sardis and put to death, the event illustrated in Polycrates’ Crucifixion.


On View, Gallery 209


Painting and Sculpture of Europe


Salvator Rosa


Polycrates and the Fisherman


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.



Oil on canvas


Inscribed at lower right: SR (in ligature)


73 × 98.6 cm (28 1/2 × 38 13/16 in.)

Credit Line

Wentworth Greene Field Memorial Fund

Reference Number


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