Johann Georg Platzer: Croesus and Solon (18th century)
A piece by the Austrian painter Johann Georg Platzer (1704-1761). Subject of this painting is an allegory on the vanity of earthly riches. Depicted in the center is Croesus, king of Lydia (595–546 BC) who was known for his immense wealth. When the Athenian lawmaker, poet and politician Solon visited Lydia, Croesus showed Solon his enormous wealth (shown on the painting). Croesus then asked Solon who was the happiest man in the world. Croesus, secure in his own wealth, was disappointed by Solon's response: the humble, when blessed with good fortune, achieve greater happiness than Croesus with all his riches (the fickleness of fortune means that the happiness of a man's life cannot be judged until after his death). Painting from the 18th century.