the school of athens by raphael depicts the greatest greek philosophers

The school of athens by raphael depicts the greatest greek philosophers
The School of Athens (Italian: Scuola di Atene) is a fresco by the Italian Renaissance artist Raphael. It was painted between 1509 and 1511 as a part of Raphael’s commission to decorate the rooms now known as the Stanze di Raffaello, in the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican. The Stanza della Segnatura was the first of the rooms to be decorated, and The School of Athens, representing philosophy, was probably the third painting to be finished there, after La Disputa (Theology) on the opposite wall, and the Parnassus (Literature). [1] The picture has long been seen as “Raphael’s masterpiece and the perfect embodiment of the classical spirit of the Renaissance”. [2] The painting is notable for its accurate perspective projection. [3]
Finally, according to Giorgio Vasari, the scene includes Raphael himself, the Duke of Mantua, Zoroaster and some Evangelists. [6]

The fresco itself includes 21 distinct figures set against a backdrop of a school. The figures are engaged in conversation, work or games. All of the figures are male and are believed to represent all significant Greek philosophers. The fresco also includes images of statues within the school displayed within the school. One statue is Apollo, the Greek god of light, archery and music, holding a lyre. The other statue is Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom, shown in her Roman form as Minerva. The building itself is shown in a cross-shape with the figures in the foreground and the interior receding behind them. The figures are scattered across steps and walkways within the school and the fresco is framed with an arch decorated with arabesque swastikas. The fresco measures 200 inches by 300 inches with a tondo above depicting a female figure with a putti stating “Seek Knowledge of Causes.”
School of Athens refers to a famous fresco painted by Raphael in the Apostolic Palace in Vatican City. The fresco was painted between 1510 and 1511 and is one of four frescoes painted by Raphael in the rooms now known as the Stanze di Raffaello. School of Athens was the second fresco completed in the room and depicts Raphael”s interpretation of philosophy as a branch of knowledge. Showing a gathering of Greek philosophers engaged in various activities, the fresco is considered a prime example of High Renaissance art and considered Raphael”s masterpiece.

The school of athens by raphael depicts the greatest greek philosophers
In fact Raphael’s painterly skills were soon in such demand that he was obliged to leave more and more work to his assistants, such as Giovanni Francesco Penni (1496-1536), Giulio Romano (1499-1546) and Perino del Vaga (Piero Buonaccorsi) (1501-47). Responsible for numerous altarpieces, such as The Sistine Madonna (1513-14, Gemaldegalerie Alte Meister, Dresden) and The Transfiguration (1518-20, Pinacoteca Apostolica, Vatican), as well as other examples of religious art, he also produced several famous Renaissance portraits of ecclesiastical and secular subjects – such as Portrait of Baldassare Castiglione (1514-15, Louvre) and Pope Leo X with Cardinals (1518, Galleria Palatina, Pitti Palace, Florence). Arguably the finest painter of the Italian Renaissance, Raphael remains one of the best artists of all time.
Stanza della Segnatura

The school of athens by raphael depicts the greatest greek philosophers
In the right foreground are concentrated two groups. An absorbed group of students huddles around the stooped figure of Euclid (or maybe Archimedes), who is demonstrating some geometric proposition with a pair of compasses upon a slate. Behind him, in yellow robes, stands the Greek astronomer and geographer Ptolemy, holding his globe of the earth. Behind him is the Persian astronomer and philosopher Zoroaster, holding a sphere of the fixed stars. Just to the right of these two is Raphael himself, [the only figure in the School of Athens] who gazes directly back at the viewer.
Plato and Aristotle as Central Figures walking in a peripatetic manner through the Lyceum. A one-point (linear) perspective is used, one method to show 3-D objects on a 2-D surface. Lines which appear to go away from the viewer meet at a single point on the horizon, the so called vanishing point. The perspective is such that this point is between Plato and Aristotle stressing the importance of these two persons. To an almost equal distance between Plato and Aristotle we have Euclid and Pythagoras. Many believe that the hand gestures of Plato and Aristotle (in the center of the painting) denote two ways of doing metaphysics. Plato points to the heavens–Aristotle to the earth. If look closely, Plato is holding a book: Timaeus , one of his most celestial and abstract dialogues. Aristotle is holding his Nichomachean Ethics , a rather terrestrial treatise.

The fresco painting comprises of 21 individuals (males) who are engaging in work, conversation or games in what appears to be a school. In between the entire scene depicted in the painting, one can see two prominent figures right in the middle or the central vanishing point of the architecture. These are none other than Aristotle (right) and Plato (left). Whilst Plato is shown as an old and wise man with grey hair holding a bound copy of Timaeus, Aristotle is a young and handsome student looking to his teacher. These two thinkers played an extremely important role as far as the Western thinking is concerned. In fact, their philosophies were incorporated into Christianity.
There are many statues within the school, as seen in the painting. One such statue is of Apollo, the Greek God of music, light and archery; he is seen holding a lyre. The statue of Athena or Minerva (in her Roman form), the goddess of wisdom, is also seen in the painting. Some of the Greek philosophers shown in the fresco are easier to recognize than the others. For instance, the renowned Greek mathematician Pythagoras, the Arabic philosopher Averroes, Euclid or Archimedes, Persian astronomer and philosopher Zoroaster, Cynic philosopher Diogenes, painter Sodoma, architect Bramante and so on. Figures who are not easily recognizable are considered to be representing philosophers who didn’t have their historical images.

References:

http://totallyhistory.com/school-of-athens/
http://www.visual-arts-cork.com/famous-paintings/school-of-athens.htm
http://jackiewhiting.net/ArtHist/SchlAthns.htm
http://www.raphael-sanzio.com/school-of-athens/
http://www.visual-arts-cork.com/famous-paintings/school-of-athens.htm

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