Seneca championed the teachings of Stoicism that are illustrated here. Incorrectly suspected of conspiracy by Emperor Nero he was forced to commit suicide. He faced death with equanimity in keeping with the principles of Stoicism. By acquiescing to his unjust fate in an upright and composed fashion he demonstrated the attitude he embodied even in the face of his tyrant.
Seneca’s body is based on a Classical sculpture that Rubens had drawn from numerous angles during his stay in Rome. The facial features correspond to those of a bust of the philosopher.