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Raphael: The School of Athens


Vatican Palace, Stanza della Segnatura


Within an imposing Renaissance architecture inspired by the Bramante’s project for the renewal of the Paleocristian Basilica of St. Peter, move the most famous philosophers of ancient times. Some of them are easily recognizable: in the center Plato points upward with a finger and holds his book Timaeus in his hand, at his side Aristotle with Ethics; Pythagoras, instead, is shown in the foreground intent on explaining the diatesseron on the book. Diogenes is reclined on the stairs with the dish, while Heracleitus, the pessimist philosopher, looking like Michelangelo, leans against a marble block while writing on a sheet of paper. Michelangelo was, at that time, busy painting the nearby Sistine Chapel. On the right side we can see Euclid teaching geometry to his students, Zoroaster with the heavenly globe, Ptolemy with the terrestrial globe and, finally, at the very right end, the personage with the black cap is Raphael’s self-portrait.