Raphael: the School of Athens
Sections on Learning Italian
For various characters Raphael used the features of contemporary artists, including himself, as if to emphasize a new, proud affirmation of the dignity of the modern artist. The figures are arranged in two planes defined by a large staircase that cuts through the entire scene. The first and largest group is arranged either side of a central pair of figures conversing, identified in Plato and Aristotle.
A second independent group, identified as thinkers interested in the knowledge of nature and of celestial phenomena, is placed in the foreground on the left, while a third, also independent, small and symmetrical to the second, is difficult to identify, apart from Euclid drawing a geometric demonstration.