Most historians agree that the Italian painter Raphael Sanzio (known as Raphael; 1483–1520) most clearly stated the ideals of the Renaissance (c. 1350–c. 1600), a revival of classical Greek and Roman culture that began in Italy and eventually spread throughout Europe. Though Raphael was influenced by his contemporary rivals Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519) and Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475–1564), he developed his own unique style. He devoted a lifetime to perfecting his painting and architecture skills and was known to study anatomy, perspective, and coloring to achieve a deeper effect in his works. His most famous work is The School of Athens (1509–1511) which has been called "a complete statement of the High Renaissance in its artistic form and spiritual meaning." The painting brings together the great minds of the ancient Greek world for an exchange of ideas. Plato, Aristotle, Pythagoras, Heracleitus, Diogenes, and Euclid are all projected onto a stage-like space on a two-dimensional surface. Raphael included himself in The School of Athens, showing confidence in his own abilities as an artist.
Further Information: Bernier, Olivier. The Renaissance Princes. Chicago: Stonehenge Press, 1983; Burkhardt, Jacob. The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy. New York: Modern Library, 1954; Hale, J. R. Renaissance. New York: Time, Inc., 1965; High Renaissance. [Online] Available http://www.geocities.com/rrl7bb/HighRena.html, October 23, 2000; High Renaissance. [Online] Available http://www.wwnorton.com/thames/woa/520162.htm, October 23, 2000.