The iconography of the present pair of busts seems to adhere to the popular motif of the crying and the laughing philosopher, or Heraclitus and Democritus. Democritus, on the left, has wrinkles from laughing in the corner of his eye; Heraclitus has his eyebrows peaked and frowns in an expression of sorrow. His proper left cheek may have once held a tear.
C. Semenzato, La Scultura Veneta del Seicento e del Settecento, Venice, 1966, p. 35, fig. 67; S. Guerriero, 'Le alterne fortune dei marmi' in G. Pavanello (ed.), La Scultura Veneta del Seicento e del Settecento: Nuovi Studi, Venice, 2002, figs 3, 8-11, 19, 26-30
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