The School of Athens was a painting by Raphael. It was his last painting and is considered to be one of the most important paintings of the Renaissance period. The painting is a depiction of Greek philosophers engaged in conversation. The painting’s central figure is Plato, who is pointing up to the heavens, signifying his belief that knowledge comes from God. Other figures in the painting include Aristotle, who is gesturing to the earth, signifying his belief that knowledge comes from observation; Socrates, who is deep in thought; and Plotinus, who is looking up at Plato.
The painting has been praised for its harmonious composition and its accurate depiction of the various philosophers’ personalities. It is seen as a representation of the Renaissance ideal of harmony between the sciences and the humanities. The painting has been copied many times and has served as an inspiration for other artists.