The Room of the Segnatura in the Vatican Museums contains amazing 16th-century works by Raphael. The School of Athens was one of my favorites. I think it is because of the “extra” person in the scene.
Raphael painted a self-portrait in the lower right-hand corner of the fresco – he is the one in the black beret.
The Vatican’s website so nicely captures the story behind this panel of Raphael’s, I could not restate it any better:
School of Athens
The most famous philosophers of ancient times move within an imposing Renaissance architecture which is inspired by Bramante’s project for the renewal of the early Christian basilica of St Peter. Some of these are easily recognizable. In the centre Plato points upwards with a finger and holds his book Timeus in his hand, flanked by Aristotle with Ethics; Pythagoras is shown in the foreground intent on explaining the diatesseron. Diogenes is lying on the stairs with a dish, while the pessimist philosopher, Heracleitus, a portrait of Michelangelo, is leaning against a block of marble, writing on a sheet of paper. Michelangelo was in those years executing the paintings in the nearby Sistine Chapel. On the right we see Euclid, who is teaching geometry to his pupils, Zoroaster holding the heavenly sphere and Ptolemy holding the earthly sphere. The personage on the extreme right with the black beret is a self-portrait of Raphael.
Ciao! ~ Kat
This post was in response to the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge. ”Extra, Extra” was this week’s theme. Everyone is welcome to join in the Challenge; further details on how to participate and links to others’ responses are found here.