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 Wim Klever

Thanks, Eric, for your skeptical comment. I have a few remarks. 1) on the basis of PPC/CM Spinoza 's claim to fame (if any) could not be great, yes. 2) but the KORTE VERHANDELING, from which his great identity became apparent for the insiders, started to circulatie around 1661. 3) there were a couple of influential Leiden medical / philosophical dokters in close connection with him, like learned Meyer and virtuoso Bouwmeester on the foreground of the Amsterdam public life, and the powerful forthcoming regent Hudde. 4) Olaus Borch wrote 1661 in his journal about Spinoza's and Van den Enden's freethinking movenent, to which also Glazemaker belonged. 5) some of his friend, like Simon de Vries, were rich enough to commission a portrait ( as they later offered him a pension). 5) of course we are far removed from the inner light with the dollar image, but Spinoza was not the painter, who clearly choosed to express his (or the commissioner's) admiration of the great philosophers with Renaissance symbols 6) some regents /merchants were had a kind of relation with Spinoza echter by ( maybe) hosting him after his bannisment ( Albert Burgh's father) or seeing their son playin in the city theatre next to Spinoza, glorified for this occasion by Vondel.

Eric Schliesser

Wim, I agree with you that Spinoza was not unknown by some wealthy and influential contemporaries by the early 1660s. And I am willing to believe that they would have thought him more than a neo-Cartesian. But nothing in this painting connects to Spinoza except the non-trivial likeness to the Wolffenbutel portrait.


Hi Eric, if you don't already know, I thought you might be amused (or annoyed, or perplexed, or something) to find out that this portrait is being used for the cover of the Oxford Handbook to Spinoza that you've contributed to. (I've only just noticed this via amazon, so maybe it's old news.) See:


Eric Schliesser

Hi Matt,I was aware of this. I think it's always possible/likely that other scholars do not find my arguments persuasive. But I also suspect that the novelty and attractiveness of this portrait also facilitate some uptake.


Thanks - I'm not close to being competent to comment on the merits, but found your argument mostly persuasive. It is an attractive portrait, and not as over-used as some others, so I can see the appeal in using it, if you can talk yourself into believing that it's Spinoza.

John Holbo

Thank you for this much needed public service announcement: people, you need to stop sharing 'pictures of Spinoza' on Facebook and Twitter without first checking if the source is reputable. Fake news! (Seriously, step away from your keyboards.)

I realize it's a bit late for me to be commenting since this is out of the news cycle now ...

Taylor Carman

The argument is that it’s not obviously Spinoza, so you’re skeptical. Fair enough, but does the headline say “probably not”?

Also, the man in the 1680 etching doesn’t look like the one in the painting, but the angle, the light and shadow, and even incidental details of hair and clothing are almost identical. There is no way those were coincidences.

eric schliesser

Taylor, if the painting is a forgery then indeed there is no coincidence.

Taylor Carman

Ah, I see you just say not the same person. Right.

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Here's a link to my past blogging (and discussions involving me) at: New APPS.


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