(b. 1483, Urbino, d. 1520, Roma)

The School of Athens (detail)

Stanza della Segnatura, Palazzi Pontifici, Vatican

Below the tondo on the vault representing Philosophy, ancient philosophers have assembled in the School of Athens. In the centre Plato and Aristotle carry books they have written: Timaeus and Ethics, respectively. Their gestures are rich in meanings: Plato points upward, into the sphere of higher thoughts. With his outstretched hand Aristotle is presumably alluding to his mastery of natural phenomena. On the steps in front of Aristotle rests the Cynic philosopher Diogenes, with the cup that he tossed away.