School of Athens

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The School of Athens

The School of Athens is one of the most celebrated pieces of artwork from the age of the Renaissance. Painted by Raphael of Urbino from 1510 to 1512, the School of Athens is located in the Stanza della Segnatura at the Vatican Palace in Rome. The fresco was painted in the High Renaissance of Humanism and is the ideal embodiment of the classical spirit. Raphael of Urbino, or Raffaello Sanzio as he was known in his day, was born in 1483 in Urbino, Italy. His father was Giovanni Santi, who was a well known artist in Urbino. As a young child, Raphael learned a lot from his father, who died when Raphael was eleven. Raphael then worked in the studio of Perugino for a few years in Perugia. Danto Barmante, the architect for Pope Julius II at that time, told the Pope about Raphael and his works (Turner,1316-1328). At the age of 26, Raphael was called to Rome to paint in the Stanze at the Vatican Palace. The Stanze della Segnatura was the first series of rooms painted by Raphael at the Palace. The School of Athens was painted in the room that is thought to have been Pope Julius II's study. The other three frescos that accompany the School of Athens are the Disputa, Parnassus, and Cardinal Virtues. Each of these frescos embodies the four domains of learning: theology, philosophy, law, and the arts. Raphael combined Christian and Pagan iconography, realism, idealism, and grace into these paintings. The School of Athens contains famous Greek philosophers gathered around Plato and Aristotle. Each individual is in a characteristic pose or activity that Raphael took from real life. Raphael took his rival's, Michelangelo, techniques and made them into is own energetic and realistic power into the way he grouped the individuals. Raphael distinguishes the relations among individuals and groups by the individuals' poses and where in the painting the groups are located. Each group of figures leads to the next in a woven and interlocking pattern (Hartt,...
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