The School of Athens by Raphael (aka Baller Alert)

October 11, 2016


I’ve been obsessed with this painting recently also.
This one is done by Italian artist Raphael, commissioned by the Vatican.

Known as The School of Athens, it’s one of the most famous frescoes from the Renaissance era.

I’m no art historian, but I was thinking of this painting a lot lately. What was Raphael trying to say? I wanted to know.

In my opinion, Raphael wanted to say Baller Alert.

I read on wikipedia that the painting has a bunch of famous philosophers in it, the main focal point being the two ballers, Plato and his student Aristotle.

Other famous folks included are Socrates, Zeno, Epicurus, Pythagoras, Heraclitus, and about 14 other recognizable figures.

The dude lying on the steps, blocking the path of the Ballers, is Diogenes the Cynic. From what I read on wikipedia, he sounds like a complete dbag, who criticized and embarrassed Plato, often interrupting while the latter taught. Today, he’d be known as Diogenes the Hater.

What I take from this painting is that there were many great philosophers by the time Raphael was around. According to him though, the main two that mattered most, the gold standards, were Plato and Aristotle.

What this means in literal terms is that Raphael is telling us that we can learn all that’s needed about philosophy and how to live by reading The Republic of Plato and Nicomachean Ethics.

School of Athens is Public Domain in USA, courtesy of Wikipedia
Figures in Picture – Wiki
Nichomachean Ethics – free from
Republic of Plato – also free