How does Raphael's School of Athens reflect Renaissance art and philosophy?

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mlsldy3 | Elementary School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

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During the years of 1400 through 1600, there was an huge increase of art coming from Italy. This is called Renaissance Art. Renaissance Art is the painting, sculpture and decorative art of this period in European history. The School of Athens was painted between 1510 and 1511. 

The painting reflects Renaissance art because it emphasizes the focus of worldly matter rather than spiritual. The focus of the worldly was highly popular during the Renaissance era. During the Renaissance the value was on humanism, and was slowly moving away from things that were considered spiritual. 

The reflection of philosophy within the painting is very clear. The painting itself represents all of the greatest philosophers, as well as the greatest mathematicians and scientist all together sharing their ideas and learning from each other. The greatest refection of philosophy is that Aristotle is in the center on the right and Plato is on the left. Aristotle and Plato have been very important in Western thinking. You can see that Plato's hands are pointing up because his philosophy was that the changing world, as we see it, is just a shadow of a higher, truer reality that is eternal and unchanging. Aristotle's hands are pointing down because he believed the only reality is the reality that we see and experience by sight and touch.

Raphael was one of three great painters during this time. His works are still considered some of the most inspiring today. The School of Athens is regarded as one of the greatest Renaissance paintings of all time.