The School of Athens by Raphael
|Courtesy of www.renaissanceart.org|
The painting features a great deal of figures who are engaged in philosophical study and discussion. They gather on a stage that is embellished with distinctly classical style elements. Centuries of study have allowed historians to conclude The School of Athens depicts every known ancient Greek philosopher. Raphael based many of these figures on physical likenesses that existed, and represented others with a code of iconography.
The philosophers Raphael portrayed carry texts of their most important works. In the center of the stage Plato and Aristotle walk together. Plato points to the sky and Aristotle points down to the earth. The collaboration between the figures is one that appears to be polite and gracious. This represents the Renaissance ideals of love and an appreciation of beauty and knowledge.
The School of Athens has been replicated numerous times. These reproductions exist in universities and cathedrals throughout the world. The original in the Vatican is considered a masterpiece that encapsulates the essence of the High Renaissance.