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Art History 101
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Source: Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

Raphael exemplifies High Renaissance painting with his grand renderings of the Madonna in landscape settings the figurative scenes with which he decorated the Vatican. His celebrated depiction of Plato, Aristotle, and other sages in his School of Athens (1510-12) fresco for the Vatican reflects the inspiration he drew from Classical ideals of beauty and composition. The soft round faces of his subjects reveal human sentiment, while exuding sublime perfection and serenity, as illustrated by Madonna on the Meadow (1505). Over time he began to arrange figures in a signature pyramid configuration, and gradually increased their movement and psychological interplay. Though he owed much to his venerable teachers Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, in particular the latter’s use of chiaroscuro and sfumato, Raphael is considered the most versatile and prolific of the triumvirate.

Collected by major museums
National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields, Musée du Louvre, Cleveland Museum of Art
Selected exhibitions
2018
New AcquisitionsBritish Museum
The Renaissance NudeJ. Paul Getty Museum
2016
Sublime Beauty: Raphael’s “Portrait of a Lady with a Unicorn”Legion of Honor
View all

School of Athens, 1509-1511

Fresco
228 × 324 2/5 in
579 × 824 cm
AH
Art History 101
Medium
Image rights
Source: Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

Raphael exemplifies High Renaissance painting with his grand renderings of the Madonna in landscape settings the figurative scenes with which he decorated the Vatican. His celebrated depiction of Plato, Aristotle, and other sages in his School of Athens (1510-12) fresco for the Vatican reflects the inspiration he drew from Classical ideals of beauty and composition. The soft round faces of his subjects reveal human sentiment, while exuding sublime perfection and serenity, as illustrated by Madonna on the Meadow (1505). Over time he began to arrange figures in a signature pyramid configuration, and gradually increased their movement and psychological interplay. Though he owed much to his venerable teachers Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, in particular the latter’s use of chiaroscuro and sfumato, Raphael is considered the most versatile and prolific of the triumvirate.

Collected by major museums
National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields, Musée du Louvre, Cleveland Museum of Art
Selected exhibitions (3)
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