Discovering Art & Consciousness

Art To Your Inbox

School of Athens by Raphael:

We flock to well known sites every year to see works of art by the great Masters of the Renaissance – one of the most popular is The School of Athens by Raphael in the Stanze della Segnatura in the Vatican. But do we just go to look to tick it off a checklist and do we even know what we are looking at?  We see figures of the ancient Pagan past that no longer seem relevant  – but perhaps they are. The power of great art no matter how old or what it shows, is its ability to connect to us today, and how it lives on in our mind and imagination. The School of Athens was begun when Raphael was just 25 years old and really epitomises the Renaissance. The two central figures, Plato and Aristotle, present two different aspects of philosophy in discussion – but they are not at war with each other- instead they mutually informed each other at this time. Aristotle points to the ground, concerned with earthly matter and sense perception and Plato points to the heavens, to the immortality of the human soul which it was believed dwelled in the body and of his philosophy of reality being beyond the world of the seen.  The word renaissance literally translates as rebirth. But Renaissance art served a purpose of not just producing Greek and Roman inspired paintings and statues that looked beautiful or harmonious, they were created to bring into a visual articulated form hidden aspects of consciousness and the cosmos, to inspire wisdom enriched conversations, to awaken the viewer to multiple layers of seeing and meaning and knowing, which are usually concealed by rational approaches. Can works of art such as this still work their magic, and open our eyes and consciousness to seeing with greater depth and breadth?

Share your views about this work of art in our private facebook group. To join see details below.

Slowing down and really taking time to engage with a work of art, gives you a chance to pause, absorb, reflect and appreciate in depth one great work of art at a time in the comfort of your own home. Broadening perceptions of art, beyond rational analysis, categories and styles, has proven to lower stress levels, increase creativity and effective action in the world. Art is for the senses, intellect and soul, and has the capacity open ways of knowing and seeing that have been lost or forgotten in our post modern age. 

"Mary does not ‘teach’ as such;  she introduces a painting (or an artist, or an idea) and then enters a process of mutual discovery as a co-explorer." Ms Veronica Bennetts 

Today, almost everyone has heard of the positive effects of yoga and meditation. But neuroscience and ancient teachings tell us that deep observation and appreciation of art is transformative for intellectual, emotional and spiritual awareness individually, societally and globally. It is even more vitally important for us today in our challenging times.

Through my experience of studying, researching and teaching traditional Art History I was always intrigued by the world and stories that art opened up. But I sensed something was missing, something that we had lost. The 'looking at art from a distance' approach meant that it remained as an object; devitalised and dead, something there for our inspection and criticism. But art, images, have a vitality. They are, as psychiatrist and thinker, Dr Iain McGilchrist writes, “more like people, living beings than objects”.

Art was never supposed to be interpreted only literally. This is a relatively recent inherited view. Art opened different ways of seeing and knowing that enabled us to better understand ourselves and our place in the world. Today, our times call for us to re-establish this vital and half- forgotten connection. Without it, we act half- hearted, lop-sided in our thinking, disembodied from ourselves and from the senses, imagination and heart.

View an example:

Mona Lisa
Painting by Leonardo da Vinci

One Work Of Art Per Week: £10.00

This option will give you:

    • 4 x works of art to download
    • 4 x video descriptions to download
    • Access to the exclusive Facebook discussion group where you can share ideas and thoughts with like-minded enthusiasts

    One Work Of Art Per Month: £5.00

    This option will give you:


      • 1 x work of art to download
      • 1 x video description to download
      • Access to the exclusive Facebook discussion group where you can share ideas and thoughts with like-minded enthusiasts


      Mary is clearly a teacher and communicator of the highest calibre.”

      Dr Simon Wilson

      Senior Lecturer, Canterbury Christ Church University

      Mary Attwood BA (hons) MA

      Mary Attwood is an art historian, author, lecturer and teacher and was the founding Chairman of the Victoria branch of The Arts Society, London, a membership charity dedicated to enriching peoples’ lives through the arts. She is also a qualified teacher in lifelong learning and a Yoga Alliance registered yoga, meditation and mindfulness teacher.  She has also worked as creator, producer, publicist and script writer for her own production company and created an award winning line of wellness DVDs, training courses and has ghost written two books published by Watkins. 

      Mary holds an MA with distinction in Myth, Cosmology and the Sacred where her thesis, Rebirthing a Lost Vision of Renaissance Art, researched different epistemologies of art and images from a broad context of ancient Greek philosophy, the neuroscientific approach of Dr Iain McGilchrist’s groundbreaking research on the difference of attention of left and right hemispheres of the brain, archetypal psychology of Drs C.G. Jung and J. Hillman and Renaissance artistic approaches. This is currently being transcribed into a book. She also holds a BA honours degree in the History of Art, University of London, where her studies focused on Italian late Medieval and Renaissance art and architecture.