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Delville, Jean - Plato’s disciples



Type of Spiritual Experience


Plato’s disciples was greeted with great enthusiasm when it went on display in Brussels in 1898. Its colours are predominantly cool, emphasizing blues, greens and tans, with touches of purple. Plato, whose philosophy Delville greatly admired, sits in the centre of a beautiful classical landscape, disseminating wisdom to a group of twelve male pupils. He is bearded and Christ-like, and this association is not a coincidence, Plato was just one of a long line of mystics disseminating the ‘truth’, putting it in a form which could be taught publicly. All hermits are the same.

In Delville’s painting, Plato is draped, but all of his students are nude. Thus he uses the symbolism of nakedness. All of them have been enlightened - Delville’s aim was to represent the disciples as androgynous – see Androgyny.

He has placed wisteria like flowers above the head of Plato having a symbolism similar to grapes. Most have long hair, some wear wreaths. This is an allegory of wisdom – Keter [see Sephirot].

A description of the experience

The source of the experience

Delville, Jean

Concepts, symbols and science items



Science Items

Activities and commonsteps