Scala/Art Resource, NY

SITTING OR STANDING? Although Socrates’ companion in the wall painting does bear features that would identify him with fourth-century B.C. philosopher Aristotle—such as his wavy hair and little or no beard—his posture is the most convincing. In the painting, his chin rests on his right hand while the other hand supports his right elbow; his left leg is bent and thrust forward. A rather awkward way to stand, the position makes perfect sense when seated, however, as in the statue of Aristotle at left. This portrait, which is in the Galleria Spada in Rome, is a Roman copy of a Greek original. The Pompeian painter likely modeled his portrayal of the great philosopher on an existing statue like this one but modified it to a standing position as seen in the completed painting.