Socrates drinking the Hemlock
Antonio Zucchi, RA (Venice 1726 – Rome 1796)
The Greek philosopher, Socrates, is taking his own life by drinking hemlock, after he had been sentenced to death by the Athenian authorities, while his disciples look on in anguish. Zucchi was a Venetian artist, who was invited to England by Robert Adam in 1766, and often collaborated with him on his architectural and decorative commissions. This is one of a set of paintings that were commissioned in 1766 (and delivered the following year) for the Library at Nostell Priory by Sir Rowland Win, 5th Baronet, as part of Robert Adam's scheme.
Oil painting on canvas, Socrates drinking the Hemlock, by Antonio Zucchi, RA (Venice 1726 – Rome 1796), 1767. One of a set of ten wall paintings by Antonio Zucchi, representing classical learning and the Arts.
Commissioned from Antonio Zucchi in 1766 by Sir Rowland Winn, 5th Bt (1739-1785) and delivered in 1767; referred to as the ‘Library pictures' by Zucchi in a letter from Robert Adam to Sir Rowland Winn, 5th Bt (1739-1785) of 15 September 1767, and in terms which describe the oval picture as “new painted” in a letter from James Adam to the 5th Bt, dated 6 October 1767; by descent; accepted in lieu of tax by HM Treasury and transferred to the National Trust in 1986.
Makers and roles
Antonio Zucchi, RA (Venice 1726 – Rome 1796), artist
Sands 2011: Frances Sands, 'The Art of Collaboration: Antonio Zucchi at Nostell Priory', The Georgian Group Journal, vol.XIX, 2011, pp.106-119