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Who is Plato and Aristotle?
This is the young Leonardo da Vinci selfportrait?
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Plato and Aristotle

Raphael Santi
Leonardo da Vinci in the image of Plato and Aristotle
on the fresco "The School of Athens"
(enlarged)
1509-1511

Vaticano, Stanza della Segnatura, Rome

 
 

The protagonists - Plato, represented with a white beard (some people identify this solemn old man with Leonardo da Vinci) and Aristotle - are both characterized by a precise and meaningful pose. Raphael's descriptive capacity, in contrast to that visible in the allegories of earlier painters, is such that the figures do not pay homage to, or group around the symbols of knowledge; they do not form a parade. They move, act, teach, discuss and become excited.

Plato and Aristotle are discussing the respective merits of Idealism vs. Realism. Plato holds his book, Timaeus, one of the few works by Plato that had been recovered by the Renaissance, while explaining how the universe was created by the demiurge from perfect mathematical models, forms and the regular geometric solids. With his right hand Plato gestures upwards, indicating that the eternal forms, such as the ideals of Beauty, Goodness and Truth, are not in or of this world, but beyond, in a timeless realm of pure Ideas.

 
Plato
Plato, marble portrait bust
from an original of the 4th century bce.
Capitoline Museums

Plato

Plato, (born 428/427 bce, Athens, Greece—died 348/347, Athens) ancient Greek philosopher, student of Socrates (c. 470–399 bce), teacher of Aristotle (384–322 bce), and founder of the Academy, best known as the author of philosophical works of unparalleled influence.

Building on the demonstration by Socrates that those regarded as experts in ethical matters did not have the understanding necessary for a good human life, Plato introduced the idea that their mistakes were due to their not engaging properly with a class of entities he called forms, chief examples of which were Justice, Beauty, and Equality. Whereas other thinkers—and Plato himself in certain passages—used the term without any precise technical force, Plato in the course of his career came to devote specialized attention to these entities.

As he conceived them, they were accessible not to the senses but to the mind alone, and they were the most important constituents of reality, underlying the existence of the sensible world and giving it what intelligibility it has. In metaphysics Plato envisioned a systematic, rational treatment of the forms and their interrelations, starting with the most fundamental among them (the Good, or the One); in ethics and moral psychology he developed the view that the good life requires not just a certain kind of knowledge (as Socrates had suggested) but also habituation to healthy emotional responses and therefore harmony between the three parts of the soul (according to Plato, reason, spirit, and appetite). His works also contain discussions in aesthetics, political philosophy, theology, cosmology, epistemology, and the philosophy of language. His school fostered research not just in philosophy narrowly conceived but in a wide range of endeavours that today would be called mathematical or scientific.
Encyclopædia Britannica

 
 

Aristotle

Aristotle, Greek Aristoteles (born 384 bce, Stagira, Chalcidice, Greece—died 322, Chalcis, Euboea)
ancient Greek philosopher and scientist, one of the greatest intellectual figures of Western history.
He was the author of a philosophical and scientific system that became the framework and vehicle for both Christian Scholasticism and medieval Islamic philosophy. Even after the intellectual revolutions of the Renaissance, the Reformation, and the Enlightenment, Aristotelian concepts remained embedded in Western thinking.

Aristotle’s intellectual range was vast, covering most of the sciences and many of the arts, including biology, botany, chemistry, ethics, history, logic, metaphysics, rhetoric, philosophy of mind, philosophy of science, physics, poetics, political theory, psychology, and zoology.

He was the founder of formal logic, devising for it a finished system that for centuries was regarded as the sum of the discipline; and he pioneered the study of zoology, both observational and theoretical, in which some of his work remained unsurpassed until the 19th century.

But he is, of course, most outstanding as a philosopher. His writings in ethics and political theory as well as in metaphysics and the philosophy of science continue to be studied, and his work remains a powerful current in contemporary philosophical debate.
Encyclopædia Britannica

Aristotle
Aristotle, marble portrait bust,
Roman copy (2nd century bc) of a Greek original
This is the young Leonardo da Vinci selfportrait?
Leonardo da Vinci
On the right, the Raphael painting and on the left,
the result of a merging of two Leonardo’s drawings

In one of his paintings, the School of Athens, Raphael is depicting Leonardo da Vinci as the philosopher Plato. Some image processing tools can help us in comparing this portrait with two Leonardo’s portraits, considered as self-portraits.

According to Carlo Pedretti, an Italian historian expert on the life and works of Leonardo, this is a selfportrait made when the artist was young. The codex dated approximately 1505, but the portrait is older for sure: Leonardo recycled the paper for the composition of the Codex. To use this portrait it is necessary to remove the written text. Carlo Pedretti was the first to suggest a “restoration” of this drawing, of course not of the real page of the Codex, but made on a photographic plate. The result that Pedretti obtained in 1975, with a negativepositive photographic procedure, was quite good.
However, it was just in 2009 that the portrait became popular because of an Italian scientific journalist, Piero Angela, that presented a digital restoration of this portrait, that is, a restoration of the corresponding digital image. In 2009, I have proposed a simple approach that uses an iterative procedure based on thresholding and interpolation with nearest neighbouring pixels.

 
 

According to Pedretti, this is the young Leonardo da Vinci selfportrait. For any comparison with the Raphael’s portrait, we have to complete this image, since the artist abandoned it unfinished. We use another processing tool, the GIMP, for this purpose. Using GIMP, we can add this drawing of the young man to the self-portrait in red chalk of the old man. The result is given in Figure: besides showing that the two faces have the same relative distances of eyes, nose and mouth, this portrait makes the old Leonardo look younger.

Read the full article "An image processing of a Raphael's portrait of Leonardo" here:

 

Plato and Aristotle Quotes

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