Athens School - Rafael Santi. Fresco.
Working on Athens School - a mural on the theme of philosophy. In the center are depicted Platopointing to heaven, which he believed defines all human life, and Aristotleprostrate arm above the ground. To the left, actively gesturing, explains something to the students Socrates with a steep, stubborn forehead, lower Pythagoras writes in a book where those around him look with curiosity, Heraclitus of Ephesus froze with a pen in his hand, lost in thought, Diogenes reclines in a relaxed pose on the marble steps, on the right, bending to the plate, writes his formulas Archimedestalking behind him Strabo and Claudius Ptolemy. In the last group, Raphael portrayed an ancient Greek painter Apelles in a dark cap, looking at the viewer, giving him his own features.
Other portraits of the artist’s contemporaries can be found on this fresco: Plato resembles Leonardo da Vinci, and Heraclitus resembles Michelangelo, and they are painted in the manner of each of these masters. The figure of the first is harmonious, like the paintings of da Vinci, it is balanced and enclosed in an invisible oval, and the face expresses calm. The second one sits in a complex, “twisted” position, it feels the burning of a restless thought, its appearance sends the viewer's imagination to the huge fresco that Michelangelo created in the Sistine Chapel: this figure resembles the prophets from the ceiling. Thus, Rafael seemed to wink at his eternal rival, once again emphasizing how strong the world brotherhood of artists is.
Despite the abundance of characters, moreover, divided into groups, the "School of Athens" gives the impression of unity of the depicted. Rafael alternates static and dynamic poses, the whole composition goes in a circle, it closes with a bright, slender architecture, filled with air. But “lovers of wisdom” are united by a common mood: they all, each in their own way, seek the truth, which should triumph in human life in the same way as the light arches of the temple of philosophy and the blue sky rise above the heads of thinkers.