The history of one masterpiece: & quot; Athens School & quot; Rafael Santi

Rafael Santi. Athens School
Scuola di atene
500 × 770 cm
Apostolic Palace, Vatican. Wikimedia Commons
Clickable - 3200px × 2037px
The Athenian School (ital. Scuola di Atene) - fresco by Raphael in the stanet della Señatura of the Vatican Palace
Character list

1. Zeno of Kitiya or Zeno of Elea
2. Epicurus
3. Frederico II, Duke of Mantua
4. Animation Manlius Torquat Severin Boethius or Anaximander or Empedocles Acragantus
5. Averroes
6. Pythagoras
7. Alcibiades or Alexander the Great
8. Antisphen or Xenophon
9. Hypatia (features of the beloved Raphael, Margherita)
10. Aeschine or Xenophon
11. Parmenides
12. Socrates
13. Heraclitus of Ephesus (portrait similarity with Michelangelo)
14. Plato (portrait of Leonardo da Vinci) with the Timaeus in his left hand.
15. Aristotle holding the Nicomachean ethics
16. Diogenes
17. Plotinus
18. Euclid (or Archimedes) with students (portrait resemblance to the architect Bramante)
19. Most likely, Hipparch, according to other versions of Strabo or Zarathustra
20.Claudius Ptolemy
21. Protogen
R - Apelles (facial features of Raphael himself)
The fresco "The School of Athens" depicts not a real group of Athenians - not only Athenians are here (for example, the philosophers Parmenides and his pupil Zeno were not citizens of Athens) and even not contemporaries, but also thinkers who lived in other times and other countries ( for example, the Persian mystical philosopher Zoroaster, who lived several centuries before Plato, or the Muslim translator and commentator of Aristotle Averroes, who lived many centuries later). Thus, the “Athenian School” represents the ideal community of thinkers of the classical era, the community of teachers and students. However, depicting these outstanding people of the past, Rafael gives them the features of his outstanding contemporaries. In total, over 50 figures are represented on the fresco (many of them are not amenable to attribution, for some there is no single point of view).
- with a beard, in a brown toga - Spevsipp, philosopher, Plato's nephew
- in blue toga - Menexen, philosopher, student of Socrates
- in white toga - Xenocrates, philosopher, student of Plato
- yellowish-greenish - philosopher Socrates
- in bluish - presumably Alexander the Great, a student of Aristotle
- in a dark headdress, low - Xenophon, philosopher, student of Socrates
- in helmet - Alcibiades, commander and politician, student of Socrates
- with an outstretched hand - Eskhin, philosopher, student of Socrates
- in pink - Critis, philosopher, orator, writer, uncle Plato
- with a naked torso - Diagre Melossky, a poet nicknamed "The Atheist"
- near Amur - philosopher Zeno, student of Parmenides
- next to Zeno - Navsifan, philosopher, follower of Democritus, teacher of Epicurus
- in a wreath - the philosopher Democritus (according to another version - Epicurus)
- the boy behind him - Diogenn Laertsky, historian of philosophy
- in a white turban - Averroes, the Arab philosopher
- bald, in a yellowish dress in the foreground - Anaximander, philosopher, disciple of Thales
- in white attire, with a book - Pythagoras, philosopher and mathematician
- with long hair - Anaxagoras, philosopher, mathematician and astronomer
- standing in white - Hypatia, female mathematician, astronomer and philosopher
- stands and holds the book - the philosopher Parmenides
- sits leaning on a cube - philosopher Heraclitus
- lies on the steps - the philosopher Diogenes
- sit on their knees and stand bent over - students of Euclid
- with compasses - Euclid, mathematician (according to another version - Archimedes)
- in white clothes with a celestial globe - Zoroaster, astronomer and mystic philosopher
- back to the viewer with the globe - Ptolemy, astronomer and geographer
- in white beret - Il Sodom, artist, friend of Raphael (according to another version - Perugino, teacher of Raphael)
- in the dark beret - Raphael
- in the dark toga - philosopher Arkesilay (according to another version - Plotinus)
- leaning his hand on the wall - the philosopher Pyrrho
- on one leg -?
- in blue and pink, descends - Aristippus, philosopher, friend of Socrates
- rises on the steps - the philosopher Epicurus
- back, in pink -?
- with a beard, in a yellowish raincoat - Theophrastus, philosopher and scientist, student of Plato and Aristotle
- close to Theophrastus stands - Evdem, philosopher, student of Aristotle

Zenon of Kitiya or Zeno of Elea


Averroes and Pythagoras


Alkiviad or Alexander the Great and Antisphen or Xenophon

Francesco Maria I della Rovere or Raphael's beloved in the image of Hypatia and Parmenides


Aeschine and Socrates

Michelangelo in the image of Heraclitus of Ephesus

Leonardo da Vinci as Plato



Donato Bramante as Euclid or Archimedes

Strabo or Zarathustra, Claudius Ptolemy, Raphael as Apelles and Pietro Perugino or Timoteo Viti as Protogen
In 1508, at the invitation of Pope Julius II, Raphael went to Rome. The pope entrusts the artist with the painting of the parade halls (stanzas) of the Vatican Palace. In Stanza della Senyatura (1509–11), Raphael presented four areas of human activity: theology (“Dispute”), philosophy (“Athenian school”), poetry (“Parnassus”), jurisprudence (“Wisdom, Mera, Power”), and also allegorical, biblical and mythological scenes on the plafond corresponding to the main compositions.
The fresco "The School of Athens" embodies the greatness of philosophy and science. Its main idea - the possibility of harmonic harmony between various areas of philosophy and science - is one of the most important ideas of humanists. Under the arches of the majestic building, ancient Greek philosophers and scholars settled in groups.
In the center of the composition are Plato and Aristotle, personifying ancient wisdom and representing two schools of philosophy. Plato points his finger at the sky, Aristotle stretches his hand above the ground. The warrior in the helmet is Alexander the Great, he carefully listens to Socrates, who, while proving something, bends his fingers. On the left, at the foot of the stairs, Pythagoras, surrounded by students, is busy developing mathematical problems. Man in a wreath of grape leaves - Epicurus.The man sitting in a pensive pose, leaning on a cube - Michelangelo in the guise of Heraclitus. On the steps of the stairs is Diogenes. On the right, Euclid, bending over the board, measures with a compass a geometric drawing. The steps of the ladder symbolize the stages of mastering the truth. Next to Euclid are Ptolemy (holding a globe) and, probably, the prophet Zoroaster (holding a celestial globe). The artist himself stands slightly to the right (looks directly at the viewer). Although over 50 figures are represented on the fresco, the sense of proportions and rhythm peculiar to Raphael gives the impression of surprising lightness and spaciousness.
The artist set himself the task of incredible complexity. And his genius manifested itself in the very approach to its solution. He divided the philosophers into several distinct groups. Some examine two globes - the Earth and the sky - the latter, apparently, is in the hands of Ptolemy. Nearby others are passionate about solving a geometric problem. On the contrary - a solitary dreamer. Beside him, the venerable thinker makes corrections to the solid folio under the admiring glances of some and the intense peering of the plagiarist, who is trying to grab someone else's thoughts on the fly.A young man who has not yet chosen a teacher, ready to search for the truth, departs from these people. Behind - Socrates, on the fingers explaining to the audience the course of his reasoning.
The figure of the young man in the left far corner of the fresco is absolutely remarkable. He is rapidly entering this cluster of sages, holding a scroll and a book in his hand; waving the folds of his cloak and curls on his head. Standing beside him points the way, and someone from Socrates’s circle greets him. Perhaps the new bold thought is personified, which will cause new disputes, will push on new searches.
Like a beggar on the steps of the temple - a lonely Diogenes, detached from worldly vanity and discussion. Someone, passing by, points to him, as if asking a satellite: is this not the lot of the true philosopher? But he draws his attention (and ours) to two figures that are in the center of the composition. This is the gray-haired Plato and the young Aristotle. They are engaged in dialogue - a peaceful dispute in which truth is freed from the shackles of dogma and prejudice. Plato points to the sky where harmony, majesty and supreme intelligence reign. Aristotle extends his hand to the earth that surrounds the people of the world. In this dispute there can be no winner, because for a person both immense cosmos and native Earth are equally necessary, the knowledge of which will last forever.
Despite the separation of groups of philosophers, the picture of the two central figures, clearly prominent against the sky. Their unity is emphasized by the system of arched vaults, the last of which forms a semblance of the frame in which Plato and Aristotle are located.
The unity of philosophy is in the diversity of individual schools and personal opinions. This is how the great symphony of human knowledge develops. This does not prevent the disunity of thinkers in space and time. On the contrary, knowledge unites all those who sincerely strive for it. And not by chance, of course, in the picture there are people of all ages, including babies, and on their faces not only concentration and thoughtfulness, but also bright smiles.
In his four great compositions, Raphael showed four bases on which human society must rest: reason (philosophy, science), kindness and love (religion), beauty (art), justice (justice).
It may seem incredible to modern man that Raphael, who had not attained his thirtieth birthday, could have created such grandiose frescoes. One is struck by the greatness of the idea and the ability to express deep ideas (and, first of all, to realize them) in the form of painting compositions.And how much for this was required to make sketches, sketches! It is difficult to doubt that groups of artists worked on the frescoes. But the overall design, the structure of the paintings, the concrete figures and the processing of many details are the work of the great master.

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