Democritus, Hendrick ter Brugghen, 1628
The Greek philosophers Democritus and Heraclitus were considered to be polar opposites. In contrast to the old, melancholy Heraclitus (the nearby pendant), Democritus appears as a young, laughing hedonist. He points to the distance, as though that is where the folly of mankind is found. Together, the pair of paintings conveys a moralizing message: whether you laugh or cry, the world remains incurably foolish.