Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Raphael's Room


Raphael is yet another artist from this period. He was a contemporary of Leonardo and Michelangelo. He utilized techniques from both of these men, and used it to create his own style.

Raphael was known, like his contemporaries, for his realism. This painting of Pope Leo X shows details like wrinkles in the fabric. One imagines they can feel the textures of the robes. These details cause the focus of the viewer on the image of the Pope, while the bishops in the background are less distinctive.

This work, called "The School of Athens" shows many of the great thinkers throughout history in various conversations. Throughout the painting are people like: Plato, Aristotle, Archimedes, and Pythagoras. He actually used his friends and other artists as the inspiration (for example, the face of Plato is really Leonardo).

The gesture which Plato is making with his upward-pointing finger is symbolic in meaning: he is pointing to the source of higher inspiration, the realm of ideas. Aristotle, on the other hand, is gesturing downwards, towards the starting-point of all the natural sciences.*

* http://www.artarchive.com/artarchive/R/raphael.html

Raphael even added himself into the picture. It can be seen in this detail from the School of Athens. He is in the lower right hand corner of the painting, and is the only one looking at the viewer.