Perceiving Colors in Raphael's Fresco The School of Athens

Colors described on the famous fresco The School of Athens by Raphael demonstrate a vivid and live realization of harmony and best proportion. The artist seeks to make it brighter for an ordinary observer. However, it is up to everyone how to perceive these colors in close terms of the artistic thought and cultural environment of that period. Thus, each of the colors described on this fresco was not chosen spontaneously but with a mere extent of harmonious compilation so that to point out the most significant as well as secondary parts of the painting.

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  • First of all, there is symmetry in colors apparent in the decoration of the building where all philosophers are gathered.
  • Second, clothes of people are also symmetrically reflected with an idea of brighter colors being accompanied with a bit darker ones.
  • Third, the central depiction of Aristotle and Plato presupposes their different philosophies being significant for modern Christianity realized through different colors of their clothes. On the other side, the incorporation of 3-dimensional depiction gives more aesthetic sensitivity due to more spacious reflection on the main figures of the painting.

This fresco also evokes special emotions concerning the era of antiquity and Greek culture which was so important for the development of the Western thought. As for me, it illustrates the apogee of the human literacy in each field of knowledge as well as the spiritual harmony. Moreover, it is a hallmark for good feelings due to an ensemble of yellow, blue, red, and white colors. All of them are associated with joy, spirituality, love, and cleanness respectively.

Thus, the fresco by Raphael cannot be underestimated in its value as of the description of colors in a harmonious way. The gist of the painting is, first of all, understood through the emotive reflection and the associations made by ordinary observers as well as experts.


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