This man’s extended arm may seem awkward, but when installed high on the wall it would have looked well proportioned, an effect called foreshortening. Dosso Dossi painted the figure for a private library as part of a series that likely represented the liberal arts—like grammar, logic, music, and astronomy—in human form. The mysterious numerical symbols on the tablet held by this man suggest he represents arithmetic. Installed in a library, it would have conveyed the ideal of learning as a noble pursuit.



  • Title: Learned Man of Antiquity
  • Creator: Giovanni de Lutero, called Dosso Dossi
  • Creator Lifespan: ca.1490-1542
  • Creator Nationality: Italian
  • Creator Gender: Male
  • Creator Death Place: Ferrara, Italy
  • Creator Birth Place: San Giovanni del Dosso, Italy
  • Date: ca.1540
  • Location Created: Ferrara, Italy
  • Provenance: Massarenti, Rome; Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore; Walter P. Chrysler, Jr.; Gift of Walter P. Chrysler, Jr. to the Chrysler Museum, 1971.
  • Physical Dimensions: 57 x 46 3/4 in. (144.8 x 118.7 cm)
  • Credit Line: Gift of Walter P. Chrysler, Jr.
  • Type: Painting
  • Medium: Oil on canvas

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