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The new Pinacotheca Vaticana contains the magnificent fresco by Melozzo da Forli .

It represents Sixtus IV surrounded by his Court and appointing Platina prefect of the Vatican.

In the preface Platina not only avoids any antagonism towards the Church but even refers with approbation to the punishing of heretics and schismatics by the popes, which is the best proof that Sixtus IV, by his marks of favour, had won Platina for the interests of the Church.

Besides his principal work Platina wrote several others of smaller importance, notably: "Historia inclita urbis Mantuæ et serenissimæ familiæ Gonzagæ".

In 1402 he proceeded to Rome, probably in the suite of Cardinal Francesco Gonzaga.

In 1457 he went to Florence, and studied under the Greek scholar Argyropulos.

When called upon to justify himself he answered with insolence and was imprisoned in the Castle of Sant’ Angelo, being released after four months on condition that he remain at Rome.

In February, 1468, with about twenty other Humanists, he was again imprisoned on suspicion of heresy and of conspiring against the life of the pope, but the latter charge was dropped for lack of evidence, while they were acquitted on the former.The pope's acceptance may cause surprise, but it is probable he was ignorant of its contents except in so far as it concerned his own pontificate up to November, 1474.After the death of Giandrea Bussi, Bishop of Aleria, the pope appointed Platina librarian with a yearly salary of 120 ducats and an official residence in the Vatican.In it he paints his enemy as cruel, and an archenemy of science.For centuries it influenced historical opinions until critical research proved otherwise.He likewise ordered that the bells be rung at midday as a signal to all the faithful to move God with assiduous petitions and to assist with their prayers those engaged in constant warfare with the Turks ).Platina has, generally speaking, recorded the facts truly; but is wrong at one point, viz., where he says that the astrologers' predictions of great calamities induced the pope to prescribe public prayers.As a paragraph from Platina's "Vitæ Pontificum" first gave rise to the legend of the excommunication of Halley's comet by Callistus III, we here give the legend briefly, after recalling some historical facts.After the fall of Constantinople (1453), Nicolas V appealed in vain to the Christian princes for a crusade. He first enlisted as a soldier, and was then appointed tutor to the sons of the Marquis Ludovico Gonzaga.After Pius II had reorganized the College of Abbreviators (1463), and increased the number to seventy, Platina in May, 1464, was elected a member.

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