the school of athens an architectural illusion created by raphael
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“The School of Athens” preparatory cartoon
Other reproductions include: in Königsberg Cathedral, Kaliningrad by Neide,  in the University of North Carolina at Asheville’s Highsmith University Student Union, and a recent one in the seminar room at Baylor University’s Brooks College. A copy of Raphael’s School of Athens was painted on the wall of the ceremonial stairwell that leads to the famous, main-floor reading room of the Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève in Paris.
The building is in the shape of a Greek cross, which some have suggested was intended to show a harmony between pagan philosophy and Christian theology  (see Christianity and Paganism and Christian philosophy). The architecture of the building was inspired by the work of Bramante, who, according to Vasari, helped Raphael with the architecture in the picture.  The resulting architecture was similar to the then new St. Peter’s Basilica. 
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Dana University of Pennsylvania ‘17, Course Hero Intern
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hcc exam I _spring 2016(1)
The Signature Room contains three of Raphael’s best known works – the School of Athens, the Parnassus, and the Disputation of the Holy Sacrament. Each wall represents one area of thinking: Theology, Poetry, Philosophy, and Justice, corresponding to the main fields of scientific knowledge. In the School of Athens, representing Philosophy, Plato and Aristotle are pictured at the centre of a group of other philosophers in a scene, set in Ancient Greece, which symbolizes the wisdom of classical antiquity. Arithmetic, Grammar, and Music are personified by certain figures: Geometry, Astronomy, Rhetoric and Dialectic by others. Above them is a majestic vaulted ceiling which may reflect Donato Bramante’s design for St Peter’s Basilica in Rome. It was not the first fresco painted in the Stanza della Segnatura – the room already contained decorations by the Early Renaissance artists Piero della Francesca (1415-92), Perugino (1450-1523) and Luca Signorelli (1445-1523), but Julius II decided that these paintings were expendable, and could be painted over.
Stanza della Segnatura