is raphaels school of athens located in a popes chamber
“. Raphael received a hearty welcome from Pope Julius, and in the chamber of the Segnatura he painted. Aristotle and Plato, with the Ethicsand Timaeusrespectively, and a group of philosophers in a ring about them. Indescribably fine are those astrologers and geometricians drawing figures and characters with their sextants. . The next figure, with his back turned and a globe in his hand, is a portrait of Zoroaster (see iconography). Beside him is Raphael himself, drawn with the help of a mirror. He is a very modest-looking young man, of graceful and pleasant mien, wearing a black cap on his head. . The minor considerations, which are numerous, are well thought out, and the composition of the entire scene, which is admirably portioned out, show Raphael’s determination to hold the field, without a rival, against all who wielded the brush. He further adorned his work with a perspective and many figures, so delicately and finely finished that Pope Julius caused all the other works of the other masters, both old and new, to be destroyed, that Raphael alone might have the glory of replacing what had been done.”
Giorgio Vasari, The Lives of the Most Excellent Architects, Painters, and Sculptors,2nd edition, Forence, 1568
Much of the inspiration for this painting derived from the integrative philosophy of Giovanni Pico della Mirandola (1463-1494), younger son of the Count of La Mirandola and Concordia. He studied at the universities of Bologna, Ferrara, Padua and Paris, mastering Italian, Latin, Greek, Arabic, Aramaic and Hebrew. Pico’s reverence for prisca theologia (ancient wisdom) drew him to the Florentine Platonic Academy established by Marsilio Ficino under the aegis and encouragement of the great Cosimo de Medici. His awareness of the universality of truth led him to reject such humanist tendencies as the emphasis upon oratorical style over philosophical reason and the exclusive dependence on ancient Greece for inspiration. Pico studied Zoroaster and Moses, Orpheus and Pythagoras, Christian theology, Islamic philosophy and the Hebrew Qabbalah. Ficino translated Plato into Latin and Pico studied his works avidly. When agents of the Medicis brought the Hermetic writings to Florence, Pico urged Ficino to translate them, holding that they contained the root of wisdom and the synthesis of philosophy, science and religion. Pico himself single-handedly brought the Qabbalah into the heart of the Renaissance.
Raphael’s friend, Bazzi, is described by Rowland (1996) as “a painter from the Sienese hinterland who was universally known as ‘Il Sodoma’ (The Sodomite), given him for his habit of living among young boys – ‘and he willingly answered to it’ Vasari declares. . . . By the time he was guiding Raphael through the intricacies of Papal Rome, the wild man had settled into a comfortable married life with a growing brigade of children.” From this portrait, one would have to say that Bazzi still has quite a glint in his eye, and seems to be looking meaningfully at whomever may be depicted as representing Ptolemy, holding the sphere of the heavens. In turn, Ptolemy seems to be staring pointedly at Bazzi, as though to defuse a joke that Bazzi had just made. Raphael and Zoroaster are also looking in the same direction, making quite a focus of attention of Bazzi rather than the twinned spheres that embody the philosophical topic of the painting.
The main arch, above the characters, shows a meander (also known as a Greek fret or Greek key design), a design using continuous lines that repeat in a “series of rectangular bends” which originated on pottery of the Greek Geometric period and then become widely used in ancient Greek architectural friezes. 
In the center of the fresco, at its architecture’s central vanishing point, are the two undisputed main subjects: Plato on the left and Aristotle, his student, on the right. Both figures hold modern (of the time), bound copies of their books in their left hands, while gesturing with their right. Plato holds Timaeus and Aristotle holds his Nicomachean Ethics. Plato is depicted as old, grey, and bare-foot. By contrast, Aristotle, slightly ahead of him, is in mature manhood, wearing sandals and gold-trimmed robes, and the youth about them seem to look his way. In addition, these two central figures gesture along different dimensions: Plato vertically, upward along the picture-plane, into the vault above; Aristotle on the horizontal plane at right-angles to the picture-plane (hence in strong foreshortening), initiating a flow of space toward viewers.
The Stanze, as they are commonly called, were originally intended as a suite of apartments for Pope Julius II. He commissioned Raphael, then a relatively young artist from Urbino, and his studio in 1508 or 1509 to redecorate the existing interiors of the rooms entirely. It was possibly Julius’ intent to outshine the apartments of his predecessor (and rival) Pope Alexander VI, as the Stanze are directly above Alexander’s Borgia Apartment. They are on the third floor, overlooking the south side of the Belvedere Courtyard.
Running from east to west, as a visitor would have entered the apartment, but not following the sequence in which the Stanze were frescoed, the rooms are the Sala di Costantino (“Hall of Constantine”), the Stanza di Eliodoro (“Room of Heliodorus”), the Stanza della Segnatura (“Room of the Signatura”), and the Stanza dell’Incendio del Borgo (“The Room of the Fire in the Borgo“).
The next room, going from East to West, is the Room of the Heliodorus. It takes its name from one of the paintings. The theme of this private chamber was the heavenly protection granted by Christ to the Church. The four paintings are The Expulsion of Heliodorus from the Temple, The Meeting of Leo I and Attila, The Mass at Bolsena and The Liberation of St. Peter. The Expulsion recounts an event from the Book of II Maccabees where the thief, Heliodorus was trampled by horses while trying to steal the treasure of the Temple in Jerusalem. The Meeting of Leo and Attila depicts the storied parley between the Pope and the Hun conqueror, and includes the legendary images of Saints Peter and Paul in the sky bearing swords. The Mass at Bolsena depicts the story of a Bohemian priest in 1263 who ceased to doubt the doctrine of Transubstantiation when he saw the bread begin to bleed during its consecration at Mass. The Liberation of St. Peter shows a story from chapter twelve of the Book of Acts of an angel setting Peter free from prison. In all these paintings, Raphael flatteringly includes his patron, Pope Julius as participant or an observer.
IL SODOMA (1477-1549), the name given to the Italian painter Giovanni Antonio Bazzi. He is said to have borne also the name of “Sodona” as a family name, and likewise the name Tizzioni; Sodona is signed upon some of his pictures. While “Bazzi” was corrupted into “Razzi,” “Sodona” may have been corrupted into “Sodoma”; Vasari, however, accounted for the name differently, as a nickname from his personal character. This version appears to have been inspired by Bazzi’s pupil and subsequent rival Beccafumi. In R. H. Cust’s recent work on the painter another suggestion is made. Vasari tells a story that, Bazzi’s horse having won a race at Florence, a cry of “Who is the owner ?” went up, and Bazzi contemptuously answered “Sodoma,” in order to insult the Florentines (according to Milanesi); and Mr Cust offers the suggestion of the Italian friend, that the racing name was really a clipped form of So doma, ” I am the trainer.” Whatever the real origin, the name was long supposed to indicate an immoral character.