The School of Athens
My dearest Emilio,
I have just discovered the most intriguing artwork I have ever seen. I was in the Stanza della Segnatura room in the Vatican in Rome just perusing all of the wonderful paintings, when I ran across The School of Athens. It’s about 5.5 x 8 meters and looks to be a fresco painting done on wet plaster. When standing in front of it, I have to lift my head high and look all around because it’s so colossal. It must be about half a century old because some of the colors look a little faded. The color palette chosen had natural earthy tones with a lot of browns and greys along with blue and orange accents on their textured clothing. The use of those colors gave the painting a more solemn mood. The artist must have taken a decent amount of time to paint this because there is so much detail in this magnificent piece. In the fresco, there are about fifty people talking amongst themselves in groups of three or four, with the exception of two men who sit by themselves. Surprisingly, they are all strategically placed and harmonious within the artwork that it makes my eyes move all around the painting. Although the artwork may seem crowded in some parts, the artist creates a great sense of space. He has a vanishing point so it looks like it could go back forever. He also paints the figures in the foreground larger than the rest, which adds to the sense of space. The artist gave the figures mass, bulk and weight by using perspective, drapery, chiaroscuro and contropposto. The way the clothing of the figures falls on their bodies gives them a sense of underlying body structure. Even the enormous and immaculate building they’re in looks quite astonishing itself. The use of linear perspective helps me focus my attention right to the center, where Plato and Aristotle stand arguing their philosophies. There are also plenty of lines within the picture that help show this perspective; such as, the tiles on the floor, vaulted...
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