The School of Athens and Raphael’s Portrayal of: Diogenes, Heraclitus, and Epicurus

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Raphael was born on April 6, 1483 in Urbino in the Marche region. In 1491 when Raphael was eight, his mother died. Bette Talvacchia, author of Raphael cites that not much is known about Raphael’s personal life because he kept to himself about many things, but many historians believe that his personal life is portrayed through his paintings (8). Richard Cocke, author of The Complete Paintings of Raphael states that at the age of seventeen Raphael began to gain popularity as an artist and was, at that time, first commissioned as an artist (Cocke 83). Raphael was known for his historical paintings, such as The School of Athens, the way he painted the nude, and his amazing ability to make colors look vivid using oil paint (Cocke 5). Historical paintings are a type of painting genera that focuses on the story line rather that one specific moment, as in a portrait. Also, when painting with oil paint, it is difficult to make colors bright, so Raphael excelled at that. One of Raphael’s styles that he used was idealization rather than realism. Richard Cocke notes that “Raphael himself wrote to his friend Castiglione in 1514 about the problem of painting a beautiful woman: “I use a certain idea, which comes into my mind.” (5) Also, many of Raphael’s self-portraits show him dressed up as an elegant man rather than an artist, leading some to believe that he did not want to be viewed as an artist (Talvacchia 8). Raphael has an amazing ability to keep his artwork well balanced and organized (Talvacchia 8). Bette Talvacchia discusses:

One of Raphael’s primary contributions to painting was to perfect the unison of classicizing technique with the tenets of naturalism. When composing a figure, for example, he referred to the visual evi...

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... century. It is a constant invitation to think, reflect, and grow in knowledge.

Works Cited

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Hall, Marcia, ed. Raphael's School of Athens. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997. 42. Print.

Kahn, Charles H. The Art and Thought of Heraclitus. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1979. 2. Google Scholar . Web. 17 May 2012.

Matthews, Roy T., F D. Platt, and F X. Noble. The Western Humanities. 7th ed. New York: McGraw Hill, 2011. 346-55. Print.

Sandbach, F H. The Stoics. 2nd ed. Bedminister: The Bristol Press, 1989. 14. Print.

Talvacchia, Bette. Raphael. New York: Phaidon Press Limited, 2007. 8-90. Print.