top of page

Available Online

Plato Charms the Animals

Aflatun charms the animals with music

  • Starts 6 Aug
  • 450 British pounds
  • Online


Service Description

Lions, tigers and antelopes lie in repose, so we get a chance to see and paint their soft bellies and draw them in positions we don't normally find in miniature painting. Our first multi-animal composition and a competition between two philosophers, Plato and Aristotle; trying to determine who is the wisest, Plato plays music and wins. This scene is found in the Khamsa of Nizami yet is not mentioned in the Greek texts. It is from Nizami's account of Alexander (Iskandar). Aristotle boasts that he knows all earthly knowledge; Plato listens to the music of the spheres and the stars and makes a musical instrument like no other that has been seen before. It is so harmonious and perfect that when he draws a circle around himself and plays, the animals fall down in a swoon, the wolf next to the lamb, predator and prey together hypnotised by these otherworldly sounds. Then Plato plays a different tune to awaken them again. Refreshed, they continue on their way. It is almost like a counterpart to the Court of Gayumars, which depicts a golden age of animal harmony at the beginning of the world with its first mortal king; this is an ancient past where a philosopher charms animals with music. Aristotle, chastened, eventually accepts Plato as the true master (in line with the rise of Neoplatonism and Sufism in Persia at the time). Imagine suddenly hearing such bewitching music in the middle of the day that you are stunned to a standstill, and then gently lulled to sleep.... then reawakened and you feel brand new and carry on with your humdrum daily life, after a brilliant dream... this is the feeling in the painting. As an interlude between standard Animals classes, this 2 month summer class gives us time to recreate and get underway with this painting, reflect on its beautiful image, then go on our way, refreshed... There are 8 sessions.

Upcoming Sessions

bottom of page