The school of athens
1 / 75

THE SCHOOL OF ATHENS - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

  • Uploaded on

THE SCHOOL OF ATHENS. Art Selection #7, pp. 80-5, Raphael ( Raffaello Sanzio ), c. 1508–11 Development of Linear and Atmospheric Perspective in the Renaissance. Videos:. Smarthistory : Art History at Khan Academy Raphael, School of Athens (12:29)

I am the owner, or an agent authorized to act on behalf of the owner, of the copyrighted work described.
Download Presentation

PowerPoint Slideshow about ' THE SCHOOL OF ATHENS' - george

An Image/Link below is provided (as is) to download presentation

Download Policy: Content on the Website is provided to you AS IS for your information and personal use and may not be sold / licensed / shared on other websites without getting consent from its author.While downloading, if for some reason you are not able to download a presentation, the publisher may have deleted the file from their server.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - E N D - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Presentation Transcript
The school of athens


Art Selection #7, pp. 80-5,

Raphael (RaffaelloSanzio), c. 1508–11

Development of Linear and Atmospheric Perspective in the Renaissance


  • Smarthistory: Art History at Khan Academy

    • Raphael, School of Athens (12:29)


  • Columbia University’s Art Humanities Series: Masterpieces of Western Art

    • Raphael's Fresco of the School of Athens (18:04)


Simple perspective
Simple perspective

  • Invention of Giotto di Bondone (1267-1337), a fresco painter

  • between the Gothic and Renaissance periods

  • This technique overlaps objects to imply distance

Two major artistic innovations of the renaissance
Two major artistic innovations of the Renaissance



    • Improved NATURALISM in two-dimensional art

      • allowed artists to create a convincing representation of real space within a landscape scene

      • quickly adopted by artists, who to developed increasingly true-to-life forms using these techniques

Linear perspective
Linear perspective

  • Florentine architect Filippo Brunelleschi (1377-1446) invented it


  • Renaissance painter Masaccio (1401-1428 first applied this in art (seen here in The Trinity)

  • Even though northern Renaissance painters learned this approach, they used it in a different manner

  • Lines converge towards one or more vanishing points on a real or imaginary horizon

Atmospheric or aerial perspective

  • the technique of suggesting depth as in one’s actual visual perception

    • by depicting distant objects in softer focus, hazy

    • with less detail and paler colors.

Brunelleschi invents linear perspective

  • Filippo Brunelleschi (1377–1446)

    • Builder of the dome of the Duomoin Florence

    • the inventor of

      linear perspective in the Renaissance

Brunelleschi develops linear perspective

  • inspired by the study of ancient texts, esp. those describing mathematical laws by

    • Euclid

    • Ptolemy

  • Using theoretical manuscripts, and perhaps through the process of attempting to sketch ancient ruins in Rome accurately, Brunelleschi developed the elements of linear perspective:

    • horizon line,

    • vanishing point, and

    • orthogonal lines

Brunelleschi s linear perspective
Brunelleschi’s Linear Perspective

  • mathematical system used to

    • organize an image and

    • determine the relative scale of objects within it.

Brunelleschi s linear perspective1
Brunelleschi’s Linear Perspective


    • to mark the location of the horizon in the distance of the image.


      • Usually at the center of the horizon

      • The ideal point of view


      • series of diagonal lines

        • from the edges of the picture to the vanishing point.

      • The resulting grid became

        • the underlying organizational structure of the image, and

        • the scale of all of the details within the work was then determined by that grid.

Brunelleschi s experiment
Brunelleschi’s Experiment:

  • About 1420

  • a visual demonstration of the linear perspective concept,

  • illustrated that it could indeed

    • recreate a perfect image of real, three-dimensional space

    • on a two-dimensional surface.

Brunelleschi s experiment1
Brunelleschi’s Experiment:

  • Brunelleschi painted an image (now lost) of the piazza of the Baptistery of Florence using his linear perspective system.

  • He drilled a hole in the center of the panel at the vanishing point.

  • Then positioned a viewer at the same location within the piazza from which he had painted the scene.

    • FIRST:

      • hold up the painting,

      • turn it to face the Baptistery, and

      • look through the drilled hole at the back.

Brunelleschi s experiment2
Brunelleschi’s Experiment:

  • Next:

    • hold a mirror up in front of the painting.

      • see Brunelleschi’s painting reflected in the mirror, and

      • then drop the mirror and see the actual piazza view through the drilled hole.

    • In comparing the two, the viewer was convinced of the accuracy of the image and thus Brunelleschi’s method.

Brunelleschi s experiment3
Brunelleschi’s Experiment

  • Linear Perspective: Brunelleschi's Experiment from Khan Academy (4:15)

    • SmartHistory:

    • YouTube:

    • BEST ONE: Episode 3 - POINT OF VIEW: Scientific Imagination in the Renaissance from James Burke’s series, THE DAY THE UNIVERSE CHANGED

Alberti on paintng 1436
Alberti: On Paintng (1436)

  • Brunelleschi was the first to demonstrate the principles of linear perspective,

  • it was not formally systematized until

    • Leon Battista Alberti (1404–72)

    • wrote On Painting in 1436

      • effectively an artists’ manual explaining the process

Atmospheric perspective

  • a.k.a.: aerial perspective

  • the technique of suggesting depth

    • by depicting distant objects in softer focus,

    • with less detail and paler colors.

  • visually recreates the optical reality we experience

    • when we see a distant view,

    • where light is scattered across a vista by naturally occurring particles in the air,

      • such as smoke and water vapor.

Art vocabulary

  • Sfumato:

    • (noun) - from the Latin (via Italian) fumare ("to smoke"),

    • used to denote a painting technique.

    • Sfumatomeans that there are no harsh outlines present (as in a coloring book). Areas blend into one another through miniscule brushstrokes, which makes for a rather hazy, albeit more realistic, depiction of light and color.

      • An early, wonderful example of sfumato can be seen in Leonardo‘s Mona Lisa

Atmospheric perspective1

  • particularly effective in landscape views,

    • where an artist wants to show a deep recession into space.

  • While linear perspective

    • relies on orthogonal lines to achieve this effect,

  • in atmospheric perspective

    • the presentation is subtler and less precisely measured.

Atmospheric perspective2

  • seen in some ancient frescos, such as

    • landscape scenes from Pompeii,

    • but it was first widely used in paintings during

      • the early Northern Renaissance

      • in the fifteenth century

Atmospheric perspective3

  • Descriptions and explanations of the technique were written during this period by artists such as

    • Leon Battista Alberti and

    • Leonardo da Vinci.

Fresco painting

  • a major element of Italian Renaissance art,

    • particularly in its early phase.

  • Fresco is a type of mural or wall painting

    • in which the artist paints directly onto a wet plaster wall.

    • As the fresco dries, the pigment becomes embedded into the fabric of the wall, thus creating an extremely durable and long-lasting image.

Fresco painting1

  • Method used since antiquity.

  • Examples from Greek art,

    • the Minoan period

    • on the island of Crete,

    • Palace at Knossos was decorated with fresco.

Fresco painting2

  • The Romans embellished their domestic architecture with this technique,

  • and many frescoes may be found in ancient caves, palaces, and temples in India and Mexico.

Fresco painting3

  • In more recent times, fresco was used by

    • the Mexican Muralists and

    • by American artists working for the Works Progress Administration during the 1920s and 30s. (Everett & Rivera)

True fresco buon fresco


    • from the Italian word “fresco,” meaning “fresh.”

    • BUON FRESCO or TRUE FRESCO = The basic process

True fresco buon fresco1

  • STEPS:

    • The entire wall is roughly plastered and prepared for painting.

    • The artist sketches an image directly onto this under layer or may transfer a full-scale preparatory cartoon of the work to the wall.

      • The lines of the sketch are pricked with holes.

      • The sketch is held against the wall, and a bag of chalk or ash (the SPOLVERO is hit along the drawing, leaving a line of dots on the wall which will serve as a design guide for the artist.

True fresco buon fresco2


    • Each day, before work on the painting is undertaken, a thin layer of fine wet lime plaster, called the INTONACO, is applied to the wall in the area that will be worked for the day.


    • This area is known as the GIORNATA or “day’s work,” and pigment that has been mixed with water is painted into this layer during the course of the painting session.

True fresco buon fresco3

  • A major challenge = the painting area must be completed before thegiornataarea has dried.

    • Only then will the pigment become fully set into the wall.

    • If the giornata is not completed in time, or if any mistakes are made, the area must be scraped clean and the process repeated.

Fresco secco or dry fresco
fresco à secco, or “dry fresco”

  • Another fresco technique which

    • involves painting onto the surface of a dry plaster wall.

    • does not exhibit the same durability as true fresco,

    • as the pigments do not bind to the wall in the same way.

  • Both techniques were used during the Renaissance period,

    • often in conjunction with each other in the same painting.

Watch 10 13 13 09
Watch 10:13 – 13:09

  • Columbia University’s Art Humanities Series: Masterpieces of Western Art

    • Raphael's Fresco of the School of Athens (18:04)


Raphael biography and artistic career
Raphael: Biography and Artistic Career

  • RaffaelloSanziodaUrbino

  • was born on April 6 or March 28, 1483.

    • into an artistic family

    • His father, Giovanni Santi, was a painter in the court of Federico daMontefeltro, the Duke of Urbino.


  • formal artistic career

    • began at age twelve

    • in the workshop of Perugino.

  • He left Urbino to work in Florence in 1504,

    • where he painted many of his famous Virgin and Child images

    • received a variety of commissions for altar paintings and portraits.

Called to rome by the pope
Called to Rome by the Pope

  • called to Rome

    • by Pope Julius II

    • in 1508

    • to help decorate the Pope’s private apartments at the Vatican.

    • Raphael ultimately completed a number of works at the Vatican and

    • undertook many other projects for private patrons in Rome as well.

Succeeded bramante as vatican architect
Succeeded Bramante as Vatican Architect

  • Raphael worked as an architect, designing churches, mansions, and palaces.

  • He succeeded DonatoBramante as chief architect of the Vatican in 1514.

  • He is known for various works in tapestry as well as drawing and printmaking.

Died in 1520
Died in 1520

  • became unexpectedly ill in late March of 1520, and

  • Died April 6th, 1520 , fifteen days later,

  • only thirty-seven years old

  • his artistic status, already well established in his lifetime, only continued to grow after his death.

  • Today he is considered one of the most important artists of the Italian Renaissance.

The school of athens analysis
The School of Athens: Analysis

  • Went to Rome at the behest of Pope Julius II,

  • to assist in the redecoration of the papal apartments at the Vatican.

  • For Pope Julius II,

    • who ruled the Church from 1503– 13,

    • had moved his private quarters within the Vatican palace to new rooms in November of 1507.

    • Many artists contributed to the redecoration of these spaces, and

  • For Pope Leo X

    • after Julius’ death in 1513.

    • Raphael’s contribution to the project was finally completed in 1524, after the artist’s

    • own death in 1520.

The school of athens analysis1
The School of Athens: Analysis

  • The School of Athens is one of four frescoes Raphael created for this chamber

    • The chamber is known today as the Stanza dellaSegnatura,

    • But it was Julius’s personal library at the time the frescos were commissioned

The school of athens analysis2
The School of Athens: Analysis

  • Vasariidentified the room as the Stanza dellaSegnaturain his Lives because

    • by the 1540s, when he was writing his history of Renaissance art, it was the room where the Pope signed important documents.

  • *This point is an important one because in order to understand the meaning of the fresco cycle, it is necessary to understand how the space was used when the paintings were conceived.

  • In the early 1500s when Raphael began the decorations, the room held Julius’s personal library.

Later the stanza della segnatura then julius ii s personal library
LATER:The Stanza dellaSegnaturaTHEN: Julius II’s personal library

Four frescos for julius s library
Four Frescos for Julius’s Library

  • Books organized into

    • four groups,

    • according to the main branches of human knowledge recognized at that time.

  • The frescoes

    • correspond to these four categories and

    • are placed above the appropriate portion of the book collection.

  • In this way, the books and frescos together sum up Western learning as it was known in the Renaissance.

Four frescos for julius s library1
Four Frescos for Julius’s Library

  • On the longer walls of the rectilinear space, which held the bulk of the texts, were the larger frescos

    • Philosophy and

    • Theology,

  • The shorter walls presented

    • Poetry and

    • Law.

Four frescos for julius s library2
Four Frescos for Julius’s Library

  • These titles were used by Raphael to identify the works, but today we know the paintings by different names:

    • Law is now Jurisprudence,

    • Poetry is Parnassus,

    • Theology is The Disputa, and

    • Philosophy is The School of Athens.

Law is now jurisprudence
Law is now Jurisprudence

Poetry is parnassus
Poetry is Parnassus

Theology is the disputa
Theology is The Disputa

Philosophy is the school of athens
Philosophy is The School of Athens

The famous men prototype
The “Famous Men” Prototype

  • All of the frescos present scenes based on the “Famous Men” (uominifamosi) prototype.

  • This type of gathering,

    • which echoes contemporary sacra conversazione or “sacred conversation” altarpieces,

    • displays a group of important individuals together within a unified space.

The famous men prototype1
The “Famous Men” Prototype

  • The uominifamosimodel

    • would have been familiar to Raphael,

    • as it was typical for library decoration at the time.

  • Two Renaissance examples in particular may have been known to him:

    • the Duke of Urbino’sStudiolo (in Urbino, Raphael’s birthplace) and

    • the Collegio del Cambio in Perugia (which he may have helped Perugino to paint).

The famous men prototype2
The “Famous Men” Prototype

  • the Duke of Urbino’sStudiolo

  • the Collegio del Cambio in Perugia (

  • These examples similarly show a grouping of individuals, and in each case, the men stand plainly in view, labeled with their names for easy identification.

Raphael transforms the model
Raphael Transforms the Model

  • his images instead present figures in dynamic conversation with each other.

    • Their poses are lively, and

    • their interactions suggest individual personalities and manners.

Raphael transforms the model1
Raphael Transforms the Model

  • Raphael

    • also avoided identifying notations, and so

    • leaves the work of identifying the figures up to the viewer.

  • We assume that Raphael’s patron would have given specific instructions

    • as to the iconography of these paintings,

    • including lists of the figures to illustrate.

  • The way in which Raphael was able to enliven this fairly straightforward directive is a true testament to

    • his artistic skill and

    • indicates a highly sophisticated and educated audience.

The school of athens1
The School of Athens

  • the most famous of the frescos.

    • illustrates a plaza

    • filled with all of the known philosophers and scientists of the ancient world—the men whose wisdom was rediscovered throughout the Renaissance.

  • The architectural space is clearly classical in inspiration.

    • Above are a series of three massive, coffered barrel vaults

    • that echo the ruined ancient baths and basilicas that were still visible in the heart of Rome.


The school of athens2
The School of Athens

  • The plaza is decorated with classical statuary, including flanking colossal figures of

  • Apollo, patron god of the arts

  • Athena, patron goddess of wisdom.

The school of athens3
The School of Athens

  • The architecture is clearly organized using linear perspective.

    • Orthogonal lines run through

      • the vaulting as well as

      • the stonework of the flooring.

The school of athens4
The School of Athens

  • Raphael also employed atmospheric perspective,

    • which can be seen in the gradual lightening of the blue in the sky as the space recedes.

The school of athens5
The School of Athens

  • Within this vast and beautiful space are gathered

    • dozens of figures,

    • each presented as an individual character with his

      • physical features,

      • costuming, and

      • posture.

  • Many are in concentrated and energetic conversation,

  • while others appear more pensive and psychologically isolated within the space.

The school of athens6
The School of Athens

  • At the center of the assembly, and at the epicenter of the fresco, we see

    • Plato

    • Aristotle.

  • clearly silhouetted against the sky in the distance

  • the vanishing point of the composition is located between their heads.

The school of athens7
The School of Athens

  • Plato is on the left,

    • bald and

    • with a long gray beard.

    • Holds his book, Timaeus, in his left hand,

    • points upward with his right.

The school of athens8
The School of Athens

  • Aristotle is on the left

    • darker hair and beard,

    • holds his own Ethics in his left hand, and

    • gestures, hand flattened and palm downward, with his right.

The school of athens9
The School of Athens

  • These distinct motions indicate divergent perspectives,

    • one heavenly and

    • the other worldly,

      which can be seen to sum up the philosophical ideas of the two men.

The school of athens10
The School of Athens

  • Arranged in a large, elliptical form around the central figures are other important classical thinkers.

  • to the left with Plato

    • philosophers concerned with the ultimate mysteries transcending this world are

  • on the right with Aristotle:

    • those concerned with nature and the affairs of men

The school of athens11
The School of Athens

  • It is believed that each figure represents a specific individual, though there is much debate regarding who each one might be.

  • Some generally accepted identifications include Socrates,

    • who is seen in the group at the base of the Apollo statue to the left.

    • He ticks points off on his fingers as he defends an argument to the figures around him—enacting the Socratic method of learning.

The school of athens12
The School of Athens

  • In the right foreground, Euclid is seen holding calipers and demonstrating a theorem for a group of students.

  • Each member of the group illustrates a different moment of coming to an under-standing of the mathema-tician’sinstruction—their gestures and facial expressions show that each is at a different phase of the process.

The school of athens13
The School of Athens

  • Pythagoras is seated and writing at the lower left while a young figure holds up an image of a harmonic scale.

The school of athens14
The School of Athens

  • The Cynic philosopher Diogenes is seen sprawled on the steps toward the center of the painting.

The school of athens15
The School of Athens

  • Another important aspect of the fresco is that it is believed that Raphael included a number of his contemporaries in the painting.

  • For example, it has been suggested that the Euclid figure is a portrait of the architect Bramante.

The school of athens16
The School of Athens

  • In the right foreground, Euclid is seen holding calipers and demonstrating a theorem for a group of students.

  • Each member of the group illustrates a different moment of coming to an under-standing of the mathema-tician’sinstruction—their gestures and facial expressions show that each is at a different phase of the process.

The school of athens17
The School of Athens

  • The foreground figure, who glumly rests his head on his hand in the traditional pose of melancholy, is possibly a representation of Raphael’s contemporary, Michelangelo, in the guise of the philosopher Heraclitus.

The school of athens18
The School of Athens

  • At the extreme right, we see a self-portrait of the artist, who looks directly out at the viewer (as he would have done in looking at himself in a mirror to create the likeness).

The school of athens19
The School of Athens

  • This inclusion of contemporary thinkers in the form of their classical precursors is an extremely elegant illustration of the Renaissance itself.

  • Overall, the School of Athens is one of the most significant frescoes of the era.

    • It not only demonstrates the high level of technical skill and aesthetic beauty we have come to expect from art of this period,

    • but it also sums up, in so many aspects of its visual and conceptual form, the most important ideas of the age.

The school of athens by the numbers
The School of Athens –BY THE NUMBERS

Who s who

  • According to Michael Lahanas in his book The School of Athens, “Who is Who?” Puzzle they are usually identified as follows:

    1: Zeno of Citium

    2: Epicurus

    3: Federico II of Mantua

    4: Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius or Anaximander or Empedocles 5: Averroes

    6: Pythagoras

    7: Alcibiades or Alexander the Great?

    8: Antisthenes or Xenophon

    9: Hypatia (Francesco Maria dellaRovere)

    10: Aeschines or Xenophon

    11: Parmenides

    12: Socrates

    13: Heraclitus (Michelangelo)

    14: Plato (Leonardo da Vinci)

    15: Aristotle

    16: Diogenes

    17: Plotinus or Michelangelo

    18: Euclid or Archimedes with students (Bramante)

    19: Zoroaster

    20: Ptolemy R: Apelles (Raphael)

    21: Protogenes (Il Sodoma, Perugino, or TimoteoViti)

11: Parmenides

12: Socrates

13: Heraclitus (Michelangelo)

14: Plato (Leonardo da Vinci)

15: Aristotle

16: Diogenes

17: Plotinus or Michelangelo

18: Euclid or Archimedes with students (Bramante)

19: Zoroaster

20: Ptolemy R: Apelles (Raphael)

21: Protogenes (Il Sodoma, Perugino, or TimoteoViti)


  • Smarthistory: Art History at Khan Academy

    • Raphael, School of Athens (12:29)


  • Columbia University’s Art Humanities Series: Masterpieces of Western Art

    • Raphael's Fresco of the School of Athens (18:04)