France lends Raphael’s School of Athens masterpiece to Greece


Masterpiece of the School of Athens
“The School of Athens” fresco by Raphael, representing Plato’s Academy in Athens. In the center we can see Plato and Aristotle discussing. The fresco now decorates the rooms known as Stanze di Raffaello, in the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican. The work is the basis of the tapestry which will be loaned to Greece. Public domain

The French government has decided to lend the magnificent tapestry by Raphael depicting the School of Athens in Greece as a way to commemorate the bicentenary of the Greek revolution.

Showing all the great thinkers of ancient Greece, the priceless tapestry, which for many decades hung behind French lawmakers, dates from the 17th century.

The School of Athens features the greatest figures in Greek history

It has adorned the French National Assembly since 1879 and should arrive in our country in the early hours of next Monday, as a gift from the French Republic to Greece on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the Greek Revolution.

It will be placed in the Greek Parliament.

After a major restoration, the tapestry was revealed in all its splendor in September 2020 during a plenary session of the French Parliament.

The painting has long been considered “Raphael’s masterpiece and the perfect embodiment of the classical Renaissance spirit,” according to art historian Horst Woldemar Janson.

In his original work, the Italian master portrayed some of the greatest thinkers of all antiquity, including Aristotle, Plato and Socrates, as well as other philosophers, as if they had all lived at the same time and were able to converse with each other.

He also depicted sculptures of the Greek gods Athena (represented as the Roman goddess Minerva), representing wisdom, and Apollo, representing light and music, in a direct nod to the greatness of Greek mythology and its contributions to the western world.

The Athens school contains a multitude of elements

The original painting was created between 1510 and 1511 to adorn the walls of the Vatican Apostolic Palace. The tapestry, which is a faithful representation of the painting, is 4 meters high and 9 meters wide.

The School of Athens contains a multitude of elements intended to represent themes of history and how they are interwoven with each other.

Part of a group of four frescoes depicting distinct branches of knowledge, the figures on the walls of the painting illustrate the fields of philosophy, poetry and music, theology and law.

In his work, Raphaël wished to pay his deepest homage to the greatest philosophers in history, many of whom had tried throughout their lives to discover the engine, or to provoke, in the universe, a branch of the thought called “knowledge of the first causes.” “

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