The School of Athens

26 Mar, 2009 750 Painting

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss The School of Athens - the fresco painted by the Italian Renaissance painter, Raphael, for Pope Julius II’s private library in the Vatican. The fresco depicts some of the most famous philosophers of ancient times, including Aristotle and Plato, engaged in discussion amidst the splendour of a classical Renaissance chamber. It is considered to be one of the greatest images in Western art not only because of Raphael’s skill as a painter, but also his ability to have created an enduring image that continues to inspire philosophical debate today. Raphael captured something essential about the philosophies of these two men, but he also revealed much about his own time. That such a pagan pair could be found beside a Pope in private tells of the complexity of intellectual life at the time when classical learning was reborn in what we now call the Renaissance.

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  • Angie Hobbs 24 episodes
    Associate Professor in Philosophy at the University of Warwick
  • Valery Rees 4 episodes
    Renaissance scholar and senior member of the Language Department at the School of Economic Science
  • Jill Kraye 3 episodes
    Professor of the History of Renaissance Philosophy and Librarian at the Warburg Institute at the University of London

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Hello (First sentence from this episode) Hello. Despite the not unimpressive feat of commissioning the Sistine Chapel ceiling, Pope Julius II is better known as a warrior than a scholar.