The School of Athens

Raphael's "School of Athens" is considered by many modern art historians to be the absolute masterpiece of the Renaissance.It is the perfect pictorial counterpart to the enormous changes in thinking that came about in the 1300s as a result of economic and technological developments.Its rational perspective and secular subject matter embody the rediscovery of ancient Greek and Roman culture.The new emphasis on individual thought and expression is also evident in the painting's focus on reason.
The Renaissance, which modern scholars place between 1300 and 1600, marks a period of rapid growth and development in Western Europe. In the late Middle Ages, population growth and contact with other cultures through military efforts, such as the Crusades, brought about a revival of commercial trade.Italian merchants began to exchange luxury goods and other commodities, such as fish, furs, and metals, in the Mediterranean and across the North and Baltic seas.Towns began to grow and prosper along the major trade routes, and by the late 1300s, these towns became important and wealthy commercial centers.Towns like Florence, Venice, Milan, and Genoa developed into prosperous city-states that became the centers of thought and culture in the Renaissance.Trade allowed Italians to experience the world beyond their city limits and created an environment that was more open to new ideas and to innovation and experimentation.This exchange of ideas set the stage for the monumental changes in artistic, social, scientific, and political thought that came about during the Renaissance.
The word "renaissance" literally means "rebirth."The idea of rebirth refers to a revival of interest in ancient Greek and Roman culture.During the Middle Ages, people had been guided by the teachings of the church and were mainly concerned with actions that would lead them to heavenly rewards.Since books were ha…