How to Read Paintings: The School of Athens by Raphael

Ancient Greece in the heart of the Pope’s palace

Christopher P Jones

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The School of Athens (1509–1511) by Raphael. Fresco at the Raphael Rooms, Apostolic Palace, Vatican City. Image source Wikimedia Commons

If you’ve ever visited the Vatican City in Rome and walked through the decorated rooms of the Apostolic Palace, you’ll know how the profusion of art on display is overwhelming.

Visitors are led through room after room whose walls and ceilings are covered in immense…

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