School of Athens Detail
Detail of the celebrated School of Athens (1508-11) by Raphael, depicting Greek philosophers including Aristotle, Plato, and Socrates. Many of the figures are actually portraits of Renaissance artists, including Bramante (on the right as Euclid, bent over to draw on a chalkboard), Leonardo da Vinci (as Plato, the bearded man in the center pointing heavenward), and even Raphael himself (looking out at the viewer from the lower-right corner). While he was painting this masterpiece, Raphael stopped work to walk down the hall for the unveiling of Michelangelo's newly finished Sistine Chapel ceiling. He was so impressed that he returned to his School of Athens and added to his design a sulking Michelangelo sitting on the steps. Stanza della Segnatura, the Vatican Museums (Musei Vaticani).