Sometimes the best inspiration for a LEGO creation comes from someone else’s failure, or at least from their frustrated abandonment of a complex idea. Pau Padrós‘s brother attempted to build Raphael’s masterpiece “The School of Athens”, but was about to give up; Pau took the build, changed the scale, and ran with it to create this amazing digital model. The painting, and thus the plastic version, focuses on the two most important philosophers of the Greek world, and thus of Western civilization: Plato and Aristotle. Naturally, some details of the original painting have been lost—I don’t recall Euclid’s face being a hollow square in Raphael’s version—but it is still a masterwork in forms; Plato would be proud. (That’s a philosophy pun, if you missed it.) I love how Pau has kept the detail of the two philosophers’ hands, with Plato’s pointing to the sky (where the ideal forms of all things reside) and Aristotle’s flat over the ground (which is the natural world, the observation of which is the source of our knowledge).
Besides the philosophers shown, which is exciting enough, Pau has hidden all sorts of details in the build. Each of the figures of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle are comprised of twenty-two pieces, which in numerology means that they are on the path to turn dreams to reality. Of the 41 solid colors of LEGO in production, 38 are used, which perhaps represents the broad range of ideas held by these different men (and woman). The sextant makes for an effective lyre in Apollo’s statue’s hand, and a droid body approximates Athena’s Aegis-shield well enough. Don’t miss the green barbed wire as Epicurus’ garland, either. With forty-seven philosophers here (everyone from Alexander to Zeno) there’s something for everyone to appreciate and emulate. Most importantly, perhaps, is the lost art of disagreeing amicably and discussing rationally.
Want to see more of the build? Check out the video here: