school of athens people

School of athens people
20 Claudius Ptolemy (Πτολεμαίος Κλαύδιος) (c. 87 – c. 170 AD)
Greek painter Protogenes shown as Raphael’s good friend, the painter Timoteo da Urbino (Timoteo Viti) with whom he had professional and personal contacts when he painted this fresco (Joost-Gaugier 1998). Maybe a reference to homosexuality linked with these men professional activity as painters? Some say it is GIOVANNI ANTONIO BAZZI, or DE’BAZZI, often miscalled RAZZI, more usually known by his nickname, SODOMA, a Piedmontese and Florentine painter. He must be regarded as an extraordinary genius, because at times he reached the very highest of his ideals, and then at times completely failed. He must also be regarded as a man against whom many writers have thrown mud, and who now can be safely considered as a far greater man than his contemporaries regarded him, and not so evil in disposition as many were prepared to believe him to be. (Catholic Encyclopedia 1912)

School of athens people
The identities of some of the philosophers in the picture, such as Plato and Aristotle, are certain. Beyond that, identifications of Raphael’s figures have always been hypothetical. To complicate matters, beginning from Vasari’s efforts, some have received multiple identifications, not only as ancients but also as figures contemporary with Raphael. Vasari mentions portraits of the young Federico II Gonzaga, Duke of Mantua, leaning over Bramante with his hands raised near the bottom right, and Raphael himself. [11]
There are two sculptures in the background. The one on the left is the god Apollo, god of light, archery and music, holding a lyre. [2] The sculpture on the right is Athena, goddess of wisdom, in her Roman guise as Minerva. [2]

School of athens people
Take a virtual tour of the Stanza della Segnatura via the Vatican Museums website.
Long before Rafael the hotheaded, red eye mask wearing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle entertained children onscreen, there was Rafael the esteemed painter who’d won over a cultured crowd of art connoisseurs. By his mid-20s, Raphael Sanzio was already a star. At the top of his game, this master of the Italian Renaissance had been invited by the pope to live in Rome, where he would spend the rest of his days. Starting in 1509 he began decorating the first of four rooms in the Papal Palace. Collectively, these Raphael Rooms, along with Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel exemplify the High Renaissance fresco technique.

School of athens people
And the gloomy figure in the left foreground? That’s the ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus (535 – 475 B.C.), only he’s modeled after Michelangelo (1475 – 1564), who was painting the Sistine Chapel ceiling in the Vatican while Raphael was working on the Stanza della Segnatura.
In Raphael’s “School of Athens,” we can find several figures who wrote, studied and taught about the natural world. The two central figures are Plato and Aristotle. Raphael placed them at the center of the composition because they were (and still are) considered to be two of the most influential figures in western intellectual history. Plato (427-347 BC) is the older man on the left. He carries copy of the Timaeus, his work on natural philosophy. In this book, he described the creation of the universe – the earth, animals, plants, and human beings – by a benevolent deity. Aristotle (384-322 BC) is the younger man on the right. He was a student of Plato, and he wrote extensively on natural philosophy. Whereas Plato wrote just one small book on natural philosophy (the Timaeus is less than 100 pages in modern translation), Aristotle wrote on a wide range of natural philosophical topics. He wrote books on physics (Physics), astronomy (On the Heavens), meteorology (Meteorology), and animals (The History of Animals, On the Motion of Animals, On the Parts of Animals, and On the Generation of Animals). (Please note: the links in this paragraph are all OPTIONAL. They are not part of your required reading.)

School of athens people
School of Athens
From the right hand side particularly, the School of Athens invites the viewer to see another strong pair of diagonals starting from the extreme lower corners of the picture. Along these diagonals the heads of the Gods line up with their opposite philosophical heads (i. e. Apollo with Aristotle and vice versa). Therefore the dialectical interplay of ideas and reconciliation between the two philosophies goes on.


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