School of Athens_Raphael

There are many artists who at any other time in history, would have dominated all of the news of the day. But the artist who painted this masterpiece, Raphael, had to share the stage with Michelangelo, and Leonardo. And to round out the four Ninja Turtles was the earlier artist Donatello. 

The linear perspective used to create this vast space was a significant element of renaissance art. All lines left of center point to the right, all of the lines right of center point left. They meet at what is called the vanishing point, and form an imaginary triangle just above the two guys in the center of the painting.

It is important to know who the guys are, Aristotle, and Plato, two Greek philosophers. The Khan Academy from our Lumen text says this, “The two thinkers in the very center, Aristotle (on the right) and Plato (on the left, pointing up) have been enormously important to Western thinking generally, and in different ways, their different philosophies were incorporated into Christianity”.

Plato points up suggesting the spiritual, and Aristotle, gestures down, or here, suggesting the earth and body.  Renaissance art portrays the real world, and comments on the life of real human beings.

Unearthly saints and angels common in medieval art have evolved into pictures, and stories about real men and women.