This and That

I guess everyone knows who these two fellows are: Plato on the left and Aristotle on the right. Plato carries his Timaeus (written 360 BCE) under his arm, and Aristotle cradles his Ethics (written c 349 BCE). This famous image of the duo appears in a fresco painting by Raphael, which has come to have been called ‘The School of Athens’, but it should more properly simply be called ‘Philosophy’, as this is what the whole painting is meant to embody. The frescoes decorate a series of rooms called the stanze in the Vatican in Rome. This room, decorated during the pontificate of Julius II, was meant to serve as the pontiff’s library, and the library books on philosophy were meant to be arranged below this painting; hence its subject matter.