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The School of Athens

Rafael de Sanzio, 1512.

We are facing one of Rafael's most famous paintings. It represents the philosophy through a scene in which a session is narrated among the classical philosophers. Because it would be located on the philosophy section of Pope Julius II, the school of Athens shows the most important philosophers, scientists and mathematicians of the classical period.

Within a grand Renaissance architecture, move the most famous philosophers of antiquity, some of which can be easily recognized: in the center Plato, indicating with a finger up, while holding in his hand his book Timaeus; at his side, Aristotle meets Ethics; Pythagoras, on the other hand, is represented in the foreground concentrating on explaining the Diatessaron in the book; leaning on the steps with the bowl is Diogenes, while leaning on a block of marble, absorbed in writing on a sheet, is the pessimistic philosopher Heraclitus, who resembles Michelangelo, who was painting in those years the adjoining Sistine Chapel. On the right, you can see Euclid, who teaches geometry to his students, Zoroaster with the celestial globe, Ptolemy with the earth, and finally, on the far right, the character with the hat would be the self-portrait of Raphael.

Rafael's self-portrait is located to the right of the painting, the young man with brown hair observing the spectator, playing with a round blue hat; at his side, Perugino with an identical hat but blank. To the left of the painting is Hypatia of Alexandria (painted as Margherita Luti or Francesco Maria I della Rovere), dressed in white, and observing the viewer.

Vatican Museums