How Each Artist Uses Signs and Symbols to Make Representations of Their World

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Explain how each artist uses signs and symbols to make representations of their world. Discuss at least one example for each artist.

(Structural Frame) 30 marks ( 10 for each example)

Raphael uses many symbols in his artworks, which make many representations of his world that he lived in. Raphael consistently made biblical allusions in his artworks and had many philosophical references. In his artwork, “The School of Athens”, these themes and symbols are shown throughout. In the centre of his piece, are the two great men of Greek Philosophy, Plato and Aristotle. These men are symbols of the philosophical beliefs that they had. Pluto is pointing upwards and this is a symbol of his belief of an idealized world. This is contrasted with Aristotle’s view. Aristotle points down to the ground symbolizing the world that he inhabits. The artwork as a whole encapsulates the entire aspirations of the renaissance, in mans rational quest for truth. The size of the painting, and the complexity of the composition can be viewed as symbolic of the renaissance as a whole.

Similar symbols can be found in number of his previous artworks. In Raphael’s artwork, The Alba Madonna, the biblical allusion of Christ in the photo shows how in touch with nature both he, the virgin Mary, and John the Baptist is. We see Mary sitting against a tree stump, relaxing, and enjoying her surroundings, with Jesus on her lap. The geometrics of the image help to engage in a natural feeling of nature in softer shapes of triangles and rectangles incorporated in the image. The symbols of the natural setting of trees, nudity of Christ and lack of anything unnatural help to emphasis how in touch with nature they are. This is an important theme in Raphael’s time as the renaissance came after a period of war and upheaval in Europe. Bloodshed-death-disease and famine were all calamities that created their own period of darkness in both, painters and writers alike, so to depict Christ in such a natural...
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