philosopher portraits

Mikhail Nesterov - The thinker. Portrait of Ivan Ilyin, 1921-22.

Ilyin was a religious conservative philosopher and ideologue of the White Movement. In 1922 he was expelled from Soviet Russian on the famous Philosophers’ ship. 


Roman Marble Herm with the Portrait of a Man of Letters or Philosopher (Zeno?), 1st-2nd Century AD

This head mounted on a herm (which summarily depicts the shape of the shoulders) represents a man marked by age, as indicated by the wrinkles visible on the forehead and on the cheeks. This is most likely a Roman copy of a portrait of a Greek philosopher or a man of letters, who could be identified with the philosopher Zeno, born in Kition (Cyprus) and later established in Athens, where he founded the Stoic school.

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Philosopher Portraits

The artist Renee Bolinger pairs famous philosophers with famous artists based on the compatibility of their ideas. 

I’ve made an effort to pair each philosopher with a like-minded artist, often from a similar time period. Philosophers were selected based on requests, hence the somewhat eclectic nature of the group. Each of the paintings in the series is an 11"x14" oil on canvas.

Prints, mugs, and various other forms of each piece are available at my storefront. If you like them all, the Philosopher Portraits Calendars might be perfect for you. Large-scale posters of some of the pieces are available here.

Self-Construction Simone De Beauvoir. Paired with Frida Kahlo for their shared interest in self-portrayal and the social construction of femininity.

Meh. Albert Camus, paired with Edvard Munch’s The Scream.

Formulaic, v.1 Ruth Barcan Marcus. In the style of Roy Lichtenstein, an artist whose work is similarly focused on the analysis of a particular formula.

Frozen Delights Jeremy Bentham. Paired with Wayne Thiebaud, largely for Bentham’s emphasis on hedonist utilitarianism, but partly also for his famous desires concerning the preservation of his body upon death.

Ecce Homo Friedrich Nietzsche. Paired with Paul Klee, for their similar emphasis on delight in primitive forms.

Man with a Book Immanuel Kant. Paired with Pablo Picasso, since both focused a great deal of their work on the obstacles to direct perception of the external world.

On the Nature of Things Aristotle. Paired with DaVinci’s sketchbook style, for their similarly exacting studies of nature.

Cave Drawings Plato. Paired with the Lascaux cave drawings, as a reflection of Plato’s famous allegory. In progress


CIRCULAR DIAGRAMS / pencil and oil on paper, 44 x 50 cm, 2015.

In my youth at the school, certain lessons were inevitably boring. When the distraction peered, inadvertently I began to scribble the pages of the books, filling with drawings their blank borders. The hour of history, or philosophy, gave easy ideas: I copied the portraits of philosophers illustrating the beginning of each chapter in the textbook. The math class gave beautiful diagrams: their geometries structured the space, providing backgrounds to fill with decorations, figures, pictures. Maybe it was the insight that those same geometry hid himself a sort of aesthetics, an inexplicable and axiomatic beauty, like when we are aware of it in front of nature, without being able to give it an explanation. This sort of drawings make me think of a kind of prayer, a repetitive but pleasant action, like the work of an embroiderer, like a spider weaving its web.
Genderless Chivalry
It's about courage, justice, mercy, humility, honour, charity and hope. Not about gendered...

Here’s a brand-new Tumblr some of you might find interesting. I like the theme of rethinking and reapplying the concepts of chivalry in our modern setting—of incorporating them as a way to treat others equally, rather than dismissing them as archaic concepts. Expect a lot of knight portraits and philosophical discussion.