School of Athens is a piece of fresco done by Raphael within the period of 1509 and 1511 at the Apostolic Palace in Vatican City (Munn 67). This is one of the most philosophical frescoes done during this era. Raphael was known as a philosopher. During his era, the society was heavily influenced by the works of such philosophers as Plato and Aristotle. He was known to be a follower of the principles that were brought forth by these great philosophers.
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He was known to be one of the greatest painters in Italy, and most of his paintings would reflect a given message. Being an artist, he used his art to pass messages that he considered the society should know whenever he embarked on his work. The School of Athens, otherwise known as Scuola di Atene was done with a lot of accuracy and a concerted effort was put to ensure that the images were as clear as they could possibly be.
The background of this fresco clearly demonstrates the Renaissance period in Italy. Raphael was reflecting on an era that characterized emergence of modernism in Italy. The background of this picture depicts the cultural change that was taking shape very rapidly in Italy during the period between 14th and 16th centuries.
That was a transitional period between Medieval and the Modern Europe. Italy, and Europe at large, was experiencing a rebirth, and new systems were being put in place to which reflected this transition (Raffaele 98). The society was first learning towards the renaissance that was propelled by the Greek’s philosophers. This is clearly demonstrated in this fresco done by this particular artist.
The setting of the School of Athens may bring a lot of debate given the shape that Raphael has given it. One may argue that the setting of this fresco has a setting of a church. This was as a typical shape of a church. However, there are a number of factors that rules out the possibility of this being a church (Hall 78).
This therefore, leaves the possibility of this being a palace. The ornaments on the floor, the decorations of the walls and the general atmosphere of the place leave no doubt of this setting being in a palace. The royalty of this place and the people in this place is convincing that this is a palace. The setting of this place can also be considered in the context of the time in which this painting could have been made.
This painting gives the context of the time of renaissance when several philosophers and scientists would come together in royal palace or conferences to discuss issues that concerned nature and the society in general. The painting gives the impression that this is a conference where the king would meet with his top advisers and other intellectuals trying to define the future of the kingdom.
The characters used in this fresco are symbolic of how most kingdoms were run. Most kingdoms during this era heavily depended on advisors who could help them define the leadership of their nations. This is because most of the characters are some of the renowned philosophers such as Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. In the painting are also some of the best solders of a lifetime like Alexander the Great. Scientists like Pythagoras and Archimedes can also be seen.
Hall, Marcia. Raphael’s “school of Athens”. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1996. Print.
Munn, Mark. The School of History: Athens in the Age of Socrates. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002. Print.
Raffaele, Top of FormFlorio. The School of Athens: How the Humanities Can Help Revive the Great Conversation. New York: Cengage, 2006. Print.