The School of Athens: Raphael’s Masterpiece and the Influence of Heraclitus, Alexander the Great, and Pythagoras

Category: Logos, Philosophy
Last Updated: 31 Mar 2023
Pages: 4 Views: 37

The one of the Renaissance’s greatest master painter, Raphael was the one who created the masterpiece, ‘The school of Athens’. It was a great fresco that was painted between from 1510 to 1511. The painting contained famous professionals such as mathematician, philosopher, scientist, and many other professionals including Raphael himself. Raphael of course admired all the people in the painting that he drew himself. For me when I see the drawing I admire these three people: Heraclitus, Alexander the Great, and Pythagoras the most.

I also believe that Raphael himself had admired these people like me because of many reasons. Heraclitus was a great man who was considered to be known as one of Greek’s principle philosophers. However, he is more known to be a great scientist who has created a foundation of modern physics. His philosophy or his way of thinking has changed the view of European world completely. His theory was called “Logos” or being more specific it was an important word that he used to explain his philosophy, which became an important in subjects such as philosophy, psychology, rhetoric, and religion.

The term “Logos” has been used by many famous people other than Heraclitus, but what is it that makes this person special? The answer to this question I believe has lead Raphael who drew Heraclitus to admire him. Heraclitus was a new kind or type of thinking man in his age, since his view of the world was totally different from the others. He used the word “Logos” in explaining his philosophy and defined it as opposite things like water and fire being one together.

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It is very hard to understand and even Heraclitus himself has said that the term “Logos” could not be defined completely accurate by us human beings even though it is always with us in the present. As I have said before this philosophy made by Heraclitus however changed the view point of the Europeans and Raphael, who was known have the mind of the humanist could have also been affected by this. The opposites are suppose to be one whole thing, but we humans who see these things are the ones who perceive differently than what the reality tells us.

A person who was known to be one of the greatest warriors of whole time, Alexander the Great was drawn on the painting by Raphael. Being a king and also being a student of a famous philosopher, Aristotle, Alexander the Great was a famous person. His philosophy if said it would match the one by Aristotle, since he did learn from Aristotle. However, Alexander aside from his master’s philosophy had a logical way of thinking and one example of that was adapting his empire to the Hellenic culture(Greek culture), which was more reasonable and logical by any means in life.

For example, the education, government, and many other things including art and philosophy of the Greek culture was much better in most of aspects. This part of the Alexander was what I believe Raphael idolized the most. There are of course more aspects about him that are considered good and bad. The good parts would mostly have been his aspect about the culture, especially the art and the philosophy of other countries. On the other hand the bad parts would have been about him being very violent and impulsive nature.

Overall, he is considered to be a great warrior now days and must have also been acknowledged by Raphael, since Raphael drew Alexander on the painting. Finally the person who was known to be a philosopher, scientist, and most of all famous for being one of the greatest mathematicians is Pythagoras. He was a very knowledgeable man and the reason was because he spent about half of his life learning and traveling to many different countries. Pythagoras learned many things and part of the learning was about religion, which made him to believe in transmigration, or should I say the rebirth of a soul over and over until it becomes immortal.

He was also in religion worshipped as a god or a supernatural figure that could travel between time and space. This situation in a way allowed him to create his own school that was religious and secretive. Of course beside from this kind of achievement he created the “Pythagorean Theorem”, which now days is very important part of math. The theory in summary is stating that in right angled triangle the square of a hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares of the left over sides. This theory indeed affected a lot of things in math, but Pythagoras’ influence didn’t stop at this point.

Instead, the influence got bigger until he influenced most of other subjects such as music, science, and religion. This great influence on the education must have been what Raphael idolized because Pythagoras was also acknowledged by other famous philosophers like Aristotle and Plato for his powerful influence. Heraclitus, Alexander the Great, and Pythagoras are three people that I most admire when I see the “School of Athens” are also the same people who must have been idolized by the creator, Raphael.

The influences of all three of them were very powerful in many ways, for example, Heraclitus’ philosophy became the base of physics, Alexander the Great changed the culture of many countries, and Pythagoras’ math theorem became important part in our math today. There are of course many other great and famous professionals who are inside the picture and they in many ways have been admired by Raphael like the three I most idolize. However, in my opinion I do think that Raphael himself should be acknowledged as well, since compare to the people in the picture, he also has achieved great things like them.

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The School of Athens: Raphael’s Masterpiece and the Influence of Heraclitus, Alexander the Great, and Pythagoras. (2017, Mar 18). Retrieved from

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