Socrates and Sapientia

Socrates and Sapientia

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Credit: SHEILA TERRY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Detail from the mosaic panel (1505-6) designed by Bernadino di Betto (Pinturicchio) and set in the floor of the Duomo of Siena. In this “Allegory of the Mount of Knowledge” the goddess of Wisdom, Sapientia, is handing a palm to the ancient Greek philosopher Socrates who is holding a book in his right hand. He wears the turban of an Old Testament prophet or Magus. As well as Socrates, this complex allegory includes another ancient philosopher, Crates, alongside Sapientia, and shows a number of other wise men climbing a mountain path towards Sapientia showing that the road to wisdom is a difficult one.

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Keywords: allegory, betto, crates, fortune, goddess, hill, iconography, knowledge, magus, mosaic, mount, philosopher, pinturicchio, renaissance, sages, sapientia, siena, socrates, wisdom, wise men

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