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Observation of “Raphael’s School of Athens” After observing The School of Athens I was able to notice things I had never noticed before. The more I observed, the more intrigued I became. I was able to see many details that make this work a masterpiece. I saw interactions between the people. I also observed the elements that unify the painting, such as balance. When looking at The School of Athens I can see many interactions taking place. There are 50 people in this painting. The people seem to be important and are all gathered together for something. Each person has a different expression which makes the painting interesting.

The first person I noticed was a man leaning on a stone and writing. He looks like he is in deep thought. The second person I observed was a man lying on the stairs. He seems to be holding a rolled up paper. I also see two men that are the center of the painting. They are walking toward the viewer, and seem to be having a discussion about something. I can assume that they are important because there are people on both sides watching them. After I saw these men to, my eye went down to the bottom left corner where there is a group of people listening or observing, a man who is reading a book.

In the opposite corner there is another group of people all looking down at something on the ground. Someone that stands out to me the most is a man on the left wearing white. He is looking right at the viewer and his eyes always follow the viewers. An old man is holding a baby, almost hidden on the far left. On the right there are some men wearing hats and having a discussion. One of them is holding a globe and another is holding what looks like a globe but it is hard to tell. The perspective of this painting is straight forward. When I look at it I feel like I am looking in.

The eye moves from the outer corners of the painting, easily towards the center. It has a lot of depth because the things in the front are large and then in the background they begin to get smaller. There is also a balance within the painting. Each side is evened out by the number of people and even the architecture. An example of this is the statues on both sides. They are proportionate to one another and create a good sense of balance. There is a clear use of symmetry cutting down the middle of the painting The details and shadowing in this painting are very precise. The only thing that is not realistic looking is the sky in the background.

The sky seems to be the vanishing point. It is hard to say where the focal point is located. Once I observed it for a while, my eye kept returning to the two men walking in the middle. They seem to be the main subjects of the painting. The artist uses pastel colors in this painting. This gives me a calm and warm feeling. The outer edges are dark and it gradually lightens toward the middle. This creates a focal point for the viewer, drawing him/her toward the middle. There are not many bright colors within the work. The brightest colors are the robes worn by some of the people. The architecture is complex.

There is a large arch in the front. There is a statue on both sides. Under the statues are smaller carvings. Deeper in the painting there are arches and on them there is carved patterns. He uses texture and repetition together while designing the floor and ceiling patterns in the front I noticed details painting along the arch. He used gold and blue which draws the viewers’ attention. On the very top of the arch there’s a statue of some sort. I think that the artist did a good job at representing the time period shown. The way the people are dressed shows me where this painting takes place.

The architecture and statues also help depict when and where this is located. Because of the colors used in the painting, and the setting, this painting seems to be of religious or educated figures. This painting has many subjects, most of which appear to be male. In conclusion The School of Athens is a detailed and complex painting. The subjects, building, composition and his use of color make it a compelling piece. It has simple elements that bring it together as a whole. The viewer of the painting is drawn in by its realism and personality. By simply observing I think overall that this piece of work was a great success.

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