School of Athens

Posted: February 11, 2013 in Uncategorized

school of athens

This painting, School of Athens, was made in 1510 by Raphael who was well known for his use of depth, lighting, and perception within his paintings.  Philosophers played a substantial role in the development of western civilization, and were well respected during the days of the Greek and the Roman Empires.  Raphael decided to incorporate the philosophers into one of his paintings, and thus created the School of Athens.  This painting contains all of the influential philosophers of the Greek period and the Roman Empire.  Raphael constructed School of Athens to show admiration and respect to the intellectuals who defined logic and life.  Back in Ancient Greece, philosophers were similar to modern celebrities in today’s world, and were the center of popularity in Greek society.  Raphael understood the importance of philosophers and what they would mean to future generations and this notion played a role in him creating this masterpiece.

School of Athens by Raphael illustrates branches of knowledge that combined to assemble the basic thinking for western civilization.  Each philosopher, scientist, and mathematician brought their own quality to the table that corresponded to generate the basis for western thought.  The most influential philosophers are placed in the middle of the painting which consists of Plato, Aristotle, and Socrates.  Raphael’s utilization of perception and depth focus on the important philosophers near the middle of the painting.  The depth created within the extended rows of pillars and the lighting make Plato and Aristotle stand out within the masterpiece.  Plato is pointing towards the sky because in his philosophy he thought that the changing world around us is just a shadow of a higher and true reality that is unchanging.  In addition,  classicism is present because the painting is looking back to the past and shows a scenery of historical figures in Ancient Greece and Rome.  Raphael constructed this masterpiece to acknowledge and portray the branches of knowledge that made up Western beliefs.


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