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Raphael: School of Athens

Another piece by Raphael, and arguably his most famous, School of Athens, was painted between 1509 and 1511. School of Athens showcases Raphael’s painting techniques because of its perfection and beauty. With all of these people in a huge white room, Raphael really brings out the elaborate colors and details of the people. Being one of his pieces created later in his life, he really pulled together all of his techniques learned from teaching, painting previous pieces and being a student of Perugino. Along with this stunning painting, Raphael intentionally places people in specific locations in the painting.

Taking Raphael four total years to complete, this incredible piece it has many interesting details and symbols. For example, there are two people intentionally placed in the middle/vanishing point of this painting, Aristotle on the Right and Plato on the left. These were two very important philosophers during Ancient Greece times. Since Raphael was very intrigued by these two he put them in the dead center and himself below them, showing how selfless of person he was. Not only did this piece show philosophers it also included many important mathematicians and scientists like Pythagoras (hence Pythagorean Theorem). Raphael used many techniques in his painting like vanishing point and perspective. He used perspective with the gradually fading magnificent building in the background and also with the many people. If you didn’t notice, the people in the front are slightly larger than the many behind them. Raphael’s piece captures the spirit of the Renaissance because it focuses on many “critical thinkers” which were very important during the Renaissance, right after the Black Plague, but also to us today. These people dedicated their lives and professions to figuring out never imagined ideas about the human body, art, math and science. If it were not for them, we would definitely not know as much about technology, medicine, math, science and the human body as we do today. Raphael’s School of Athens was his best piece and my personal favorite of the Renaissance.


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