Waterhouse’s early success of the 1880s was based on classical subjects such as this which show a strong debt to Alma-Tadema. The most famous of the Cynic philosophers, Diogenes (412?-323 BC) pursued the ideal of eliminating non-essential luxuries, thus choosing to live not in a house but in a large tub. Supposedly he would stalk the streets of Athens with the lantern (here shown at his feet) vainly searching for an honest man.


  • Title: Diogenes
  • Creator: John William Waterhouse
  • Date Created: 1882
  • Physical Dimensions: 208.3 x 134.6 cm stretcher; 249.0 x 177.4 x 17.0 cm frame
  • Provenance: R.J. Jeffray, pre Apr 1886, Australia, Sold April 1886 through Messrs. Gemmell, Tucket and Co., at Devoirgilla, Toorak, Melbourne. Henry Wallis, Apr 1886, Purchased by the AGNSW from Henry Wallis 1886
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: Purchased 1886
  • Medium: oil on canvas
  • Signature & Date: Signed and dated l.r., brown paint "J W Waterhouse 1882" .
  • Artist Country: England

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