The painting of the Stanza della Segnatura is documented as one of Raphael’s major artistic work. He was assigned this work by Julius II based on the recommendations of Bramante. Raphael was very bright and talented in interpreting philosophical themes. The theme of this painting was to display Neoplatonic philosophy in justifying the historical power of the Roman Catholic Church.
The ‘Disputa’ and the ‘School of Athens” occupied the larger walls of Stanza della Segnatura while the smaller walls contained ‘Cardinal virtues’ and ‘Parnassus’. The ‘Disputa’ and the ‘School of Athens” stands out because of their diversion of content. While Disputa conveyed Christian messages, ‘the school of Athens’ reveal secular philosophy and knowledge. Out of all Raphael’s frescoes, the “school of Athens’ have won more popularity showing a diversion from Christianity to secular humanism that emphasises platonic philosophy as the basis of architecture.
The ‘School of Athens’ culminates the artwork associated with high renaissance. In this painting, Raphael employs a series of gestures and poses which he intermingles so as to come up with a single figure thereby creating an interwoven pattern. Such patterns are typical of secular humanism. The viewer’s eye is directly drawn to the central figures of Aristotle and Plato. The major characteristics that are evident in this painting include stability, clarity, and serenity.
After the ‘School of Athens’, Raphael went ahead and painted a more secular art known as “Triumph of Galatea”. This work was adored by many granted the virtues of secular and classical antiquity therein. It became one of the most successful evocations in the high renaissance. With time, Raphael began deviating from calm art into a more energetic and grandeur movement.
The ‘School of Athens’ relays more of philosophical concepts than Christianity. He embodies renowned philosophers using conventional attires. At the centre of the painting Plato and Aristotle are displayed as engaging in a talk. Plato is depicted as pointing to the sky which symbolizes that wisdom is divinely endowed. However, Aristotle points the earth to suggest that wisdom can be attained through empirical observation. These two ideas relay the relationship that exists between humanism and wisdom. The two prominent philosophers are surrounded by other artists contemporary to Raphael. There is evident clarity in the representation of these noble thinkers. Such clarity is only unique with ‘The School of Athens’ and no other artwork. Other latter works of Raphael such as the Monalisa were dictated by the philosophical concepts he acquired in artwork. The greater emphasis on philosophy explains the evolution of artwork from Christianity to secular humanism.
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To sum it all up, the representation of ‘The School of Athens’ and the ‘Disputa’ brings a clear contrast between classical philosophy and Christian theology respectively. The “The school of Athens” is a clear representation of the classical philosophy since it explores famous philosophers. The incorporation of the noble thinkers of the past also explains that diversion into secular humanism.
The school of Athens by Raphael Sanzio is an actual depiction of humanist and secularist beliefs. This is quite evident in the style used and the clear illustration of the type of painting that existed in Italy during the era of high renaissance. Nearly all renaissance sculptures and paintings are characterized by secularism as well as Greek and roman philosophy. As a matter of fact, all the mentioned aspects of philosophy and secularism were believed to have been shaped by artwork. In order to understand how art evolved, it is very essential to look into religion since it is epitome for such evolution. The modern and the medieval history of Europe show that religion was the foundation upon which all sculptures and paintings were done.
“The School Athens’ by Raphael, ‘the Last Supper by Leonardo, the sculpture of King David by Michelangelo, “The Virgin Mary” by Giotto, and the “Holy Trinity” by Masaccio are just but a few examples of the numerous artistic sculpture, painting, and frescoes that were by the most famous renaissance artist who were greatly inspired by religious beliefs. However, given the high philosophical movements that marked high renaissance, some of the styles used by these artists relay secularism and humanism.
The School of Athens clearly represents the beliefs as well as the explanation of the famous philosophers in the high renaissance era. These philosophers include Drusus and Petrarch. Others include the renowned mathematician Pythagoras who represents the Greek goddess of reason and the intellectuals such the Socrates who are well known as advocates of humanist movement. In this painting, Raphael exposes the reality of intellectual community of painters and sculptors such as Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo who are depicted in the painting by the great philosophers Heraclitus and Plato correspondingly. Raphael’s choice of intellectual display the actual cream of thinking brains during high renaissance in Italy.
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For example, Leonardo da Vinci explores the secular style in painting. This was partly what Raphael picked up from him and employed in the painting of the School of Athens. Initially, Raphael was focused on relaying serenity but he was later reformed when he arrived in Florence and learnt the Florentine painting style. In the Last Supper, Leonardo depicts the anxiety that rocked apostles of Jesus when they learnt that he would be betrayed. Leonardo draws different lines of emotions in the faces of the disciples and this clear shows the real and non- exaggerated world of secularism. Michelangelo also employs secularism in the painting of the roofs of Sistine chapel. The fact that the Catholic Church agreed with such aspects of secularism shows how artists in the renaissance had attained an elitist status. The church believed that the artists were divinely endowed with the vast knowledge in art work. As a result, the artists used this notion to further secularism and humanism. Most of the works in the renaissance period were meant to appease the society since they highly esteem artwork.
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Secularism is a movement that holds with high esteem the dignity, the capabilities and concerns of human. This is quite evident in Raphael’s ‘school of Athens’. In this painting Raphael presents renowned Greek philosophers debating on the origin of wisdom. At the centre of the painting Plato and Aristotle are displayed as engaging in a talk. Plato is depicted as pointing to the sky which symbolizes that wisdom is divinely endowed. However, Aristotle points the earth to suggest that wisdom can be attained through empirical observation. These two ideas relay the relationship that exists between humanism and wisdom. The two prominent philosophers are surrounded by other artists contemporary to Raphael. The ‘School of Athens’ concludes the artwork associated with high renaissance. In this painting, Raphael utilizes a series of gestures and poses which he intermingles so as to come up with a single figure thereby creating an interwoven pattern. Such patterns are typical of secular humanism. The viewer’s eye is directly drawn to the central figures of Aristotle and Plato. The major characteristics that are evident in this painting include stability, clarity, and serenity.
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