The School of Athens is one of four wall frescoes in the Stanza della Segnatura, The room was set to be Julius’ library, and therefore Raphael’s overall concept balances the contents of what would have been in the pope’s study.
In the 15th century, a tradition of decorating private libraries with portraits of great thinkers was common. Raphael took the idea to a whole new level with massive compositions that reflected philosophy, theology, literature, and jurisprudence. Read as a whole, they immediately transmitted the intellect of the pope and would have sparked discussion between cultured minds that were lucky enough to enter into this private space.
The School of Athens was the third painting Raphael completed after Disputa (representing theology) and Parnassus (representing literature). It’s positioned facing Disputa and symbolizes philosophy, setting up a contrast between religious and lay beliefs.
vatican city, italy
How far back?
2020 | Present