Raphael and The School of Athens

There, on the wall directly facing the apotheosis of theology in the Disputa, is the glorification of philosophy: Plato of the Jovelike brow, deep eyes, flowing white hair and beard, with a finger pointing upward to his perfect state; Aristotle walking quietly beside him, thirty years younger, handsome and cheerful, holding out his hand with a downward palm, as if to bring his master’s soaring idealism back to earth and the possible;

Socrates counting off his arguments on his fingers, with armed Alcibiades listening to him lovingly; Pythagoras trying to imprison in harmonic tables the music of the spheres; a fair lady who might be Aspasia; Heracleitus writing Ephesian riddles; Diogenes lying carelessly disrobed on the marble steps; Continue Reading

Cosimo and Donatello

He established in Florence (1455) a Platonic Academy for the study of Plato, and enabled Marsilio Ficino to give half a lifetime to the translation and exposition of Plato’s works. Now, after a reign of four hundred years, scholasticism lost its sovereignty over philosophy in the West, and the exhilarating spirit of Plato entered like energizing yeast into the rising body of European thought. Continue Reading