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France Loans Raphael’s School of Athens Masterpiece to Greece

School of Athens masterpiece
”The School of Athens” fresco by Raphael, depicting the Platonic Academy in Athens. In the center we can see Plato and Aristotle, discussing. The fresco now decorates the rooms known as the Stanze di Raffaello, in the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican. The work is the basis for the tapestry that will be loaned to Greece. Public Domain

The French government has decided to loan the magnificent tapestry by Raphael depicting  the School of Athens to Greece as a way to commemorate the Bicentennial of the Greek Revolution.

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

School of Athens shows greatest figures from Greek history

It has adorned the French National Assembly since 1879 and is expected to 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 extensive 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 to be “Raphael’s masterpiece and the perfect embodiment of the classical spirit of the Renaissance,” according to art historian Horst Woldemar Janson.

In his original work, the Italian master depicted some of the greatest thinkers throughout 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 portrayed sculptures of the Greek gods Athena (portrayed 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.

School of Athens contains a wealth of elements

The original painting was created between 1510 and 1511 to adorn the walls of the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace. The tapestry, which is a faithful representation of the painting, measures 4 meters (13 feet) high and 9 meters (30 feet) wide.

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

One of a group of four frescoes which depict separate branches of knowledge, figures on the walls of the painting exemplify the realms of Philosophy, Poetry and music, Theology, and Law.

In his work, Raphael desired to pay his deepest tribute to the greatest philosophers in history, several of whom had tried throughout their lives to discover the prime mover, or cause, in the universe, a branch of thought called the “knowledge of the first causes.”

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