|Leo III base gold solidus, minted in Rome|
|John of Damascus|
Today we owe a certain debt of gratitude to a man known only as John of Damascus. Using a rationale based on classical Greek thought, and applying Platonic idealism to Christian principles, he argued the premise that appreciating visible beauty was a necessary step in the appreciation of God. Thus, a good picture could guide the worshipper toward God, but as a path, not as an end itself. Thanks to this man's defense of figurative art through the use of Platonic logic, Christian art was permitted to develop with a firm, religious and philosophical base.