Fig. 4. Raphael’s ‘School of Athens’ (1510), depicting a host of ancient philosophers in a perspective setting. There is no full agreement on the identities of the participants, but the most plausible are given here. Plato (left center) is a portrait of Leonardo, passing his knowledge to his pupil Aristotle, whose outstretched hand forms the center of the composition. To Plato’s right is Socrates, holding forth to a group of his pupils including the hero Alcibiades, Xenaphon, and Aeschines. Pythogoras is writing a book in the left foreground, while behind him are Alberti as Zeno and Tommaso Inghirami as Epicurus. In the center, Michelangelo as Democritus is writing at the table in front of a declamatory Parmenides, with Diogenes reclining on the steps. In the right foreground Euclid (a portrait of Raphael’s master, Bramante) stoops to demonstrate a theorem of a six-pointed star, while Ptolemy holds the celestial sphere and Zoroaster with a gold crown holds the earth and looks back at Raphael’s self-portrait in the black velvet cap, next to his colleague at the Vatican, the painter Giovanni Bazzi (Il Sodoma). Behind them are Heraclitus and possibly the blind poet Homer. In the far background over Aristotle’s left shoulder are two figures closely resembling the portraits of the artists Masaccio (with the dark hair) and his master Masolino (with the white beard).

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