One of the most famous artworks right from the age of the Renaissance is the school of Athens. The school of Athens was painted by Raphael of Urbino from 1500 to 1512. It is located in the stanza Della segnatura in Vatican palace Rome (Kelly, Matthew & Jared, 57). The fresco was painted during the period of high renaissance humanism and is a symbol of classical spirit. Raffaello Sanzio, who is further known as Raphael of Urbino, was born in 1483 in Italy. His father was known as Giovanni Santi who was also a famous artist in Urbino (Carminati, 12). While growing up, Raphael learned various skills from his father. He later worked in a studio which was located in Perugia. An architecture which was named as Danto Bramante informed the pope about Raphael and his works and he was summoned to paint the Stanze at this time he was 26 years old. The Stanze della Segnatura was the first rooms that Raphael painted. Raphael combined both the Christianity, idealism, pagan iconography in his painting. The school of Athens have drawings of great philosophers all around the Plato.
The renaissance period was characterized by an elite intellectual class that had a passion for artwork. There was also religious fervour. During the Renaissance period, people mixed the roman culture with the mixed ancient Greek, which became the root of European civilization. Raphael had greatly mastered the Italian Renaissance. He is famous because of his art techniques such as perspective and foreshortening. Foreshortening is termed as changing a figure to make it look realistic and closer to a person. Perspective is explained as a way in which distant objects are painted to look smaller.
Details of the painting
Art historians over the years have tried to check what each figure in the Raphael masterpiece represented. However, the most important figures that can be identified include Plato and his student Aristotle who later became the founding fathers of philosophy. These two men hold some books in their hands (Carminati, 107). Plato looks like he is pointing up, showing his cosmological philosophies. It also shows another man who in pink thought to be Pythagoras, the mathematicians. Thus, it can be said that the school of Athens represent great scientists, mathematicians, and philosophers thought to be sharing ideas and learning from each other. These people lived at different times, but they were drawn by Raphael under one roof.
The two great philosophers showed how their great philosophies contributed to the growth of Christianity. Plato is thought to be pointing up because he believes that his philosophy and the unchanging world is just a show of the truer reality which is unchanging and eternal. According to Plato, there is another worldly reality which forms the seat of true wisdom, justice and beauty. Plato is seen holding his book, which is called the Timaeus. On the other hand, Aristotle is seen holding hands down because his philosophy is only based on what we can experience and see by touch or sight. He further encouraged people to study, government, justice, relationship and friendship (Carminati, 64). Moreover, according to Pythagoras, the world was based on mathematical laws. These ideas were intertwined with musical and cosmic harmony; thus, they are thought to be related to God. He further stated that each planet produced a note when it was moving based on its distance from the earth (Carminati, 45). Moreover, Ptolemy is seen holding a sphere of the earth next to panthagoras. Ptolemy tried to explain how the earth moved mathematically. However, his theory remained an untold story until Copernicus figured it out in the 16th century. He explained that the earth was not at the centre of the universe; instead, it was a planet. And all the planets moved in orbits and not in circles (Kelly, Matthew & Jared, 57)
Carminati, Marco. Raphael: The School of Athens - Art Mysteries., 2013. Print.
Kelly, Matthew, and Jared Bielby. Information Cultures in the Digital Age: A Festschrift in Honor of Rafael Capurro. Wiesbaden: Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden, 2016. Internet resource.
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