Gemito's bust of Il Filosofo is one of his most engaging images. Inspired by the dishevelled and angular face of his adoptive father, Francesco Jadicicco, and the antique, this study foreshadows the physical appearance of the sculptor himself in later life. This combination of ancient and modern sources with a deep personal affinity with his subject is what defines Gemito's style. Il Filosofo's corkscrew curls allow Gemito to show off his consummate skill in casting bronze. The bust was exhibited at the Paris Exposition Universelle in 1900 and three years later at the Venice V Esposizione Internazionale d'Arte.
I. Wardropper & L. Licht, Chiseled with a Brush: Italian Sculpture 1860-1925 from the Gilgore Collections, Chicago, 1994, p. 90, no. 20; Temi di Vincenzo Gemito, exh. cat. Palazzo Racani Arroni Spoletto, 1989, p. 124, no. 132