The three pieces discussed in this essay are all closely related to popes of the Roman Catholic Church.Michelangelo’s “The Last Judgment,” Raphael’s “School of Athens” and Pietro da Cortona’s “Glorification of the Reign of Urban VIII” not only have their relation to a particular pope in common, but also are very good reflections of the artistic movements and historical events of the time in which each work was done.
Raphael’s “The School of Athens” was a work done on one wall of the Stanza della Segnatura, a former meeting room of the papal tribunal and Julius II’s then current private library, at the request of Pope Julius II.Julius II had other artists working on the room when he saw some of Raphael’s work.He then had the other artists stop work and called for Raphael to do the room instead. Raphael took over in 1508 (the same year Michelangelo was commissioned on the Sistine Chapel) and had completed the job in 1511. This piece is most significant in its reflection of the historical period. It was in this time during the Renaissance that the Medici family redefined business and people like Machiavelli brought about new political ideas in books like “The Prince.” A new wave of thinking and reason was spreading.”The School of Athens” brings together all the ancient philosophies and their famous representatives while leaving out any reference to Christian themes. Tyhe painting personifies the popular trend of the time.The painting is also completely representative of the High Renaissance style. The attention is completely on realistic, naturalistic portrayal of the figure.Notably the painting displays portraits of his contemporaries, Leonardo da Vinci (Plato) and Michelangelo (Heraklitos). The Leonardo portrait is assumed to pay tribute to his role as a thinker and artist in establishing the High Renaissance style.
After returning back to Rome from Florence on the order of Pope Paul III, Michelangelo began work on “The…