A few years younger than Leonardo and Michelangelo, Raphael (rah fah EL) studied the works of those great masters. His paintings blend Christian and classical styles. Among his best-known works is School of Athens, which pictures an imaginary gathering of great thinkers and scientists, including Plato, Aristotle, Socrates, and the Arab philosopher Averroës. In typical Renaissance fashion, Raphael included Michelangelo, Leonardo, and himself.
Which artistic technique was developed during the Renaissance and used in The Last Supper?
Poets, artists, and scholars mingled with politicians at the courts of Renaissance rulers. A literature of “how to” books sprang up to help ambitious men and women who wanted to rise in the Renaissance world.
In School of Athens, Italian painter Raphael imagines a gathering of great thinkers and scientists. Why did he include Renaissance artists in the scene?
The most widely read of these handbooks was The Book of the Courtier, by Baldassare Castiglione (kahs teel YOH nay). In it, he describes the manners, skills, learning, and virtues that a member of the court should have.
The ideal differed for men and women. The ideal man, wrote Castiglione, is athletic but not overactive. He is good at games but not a gambler. He plays a musical instrument and knows literature and history but is not arrogant. The ideal woman offers a balance to men. She is graceful and kind, lively but reserved. She is beautiful, “for outer beauty,” wrote Castiglione, “is the true sign of inner goodness.”
Niccolò Machiavelli (mahk ee uh VEL ee) wrote a different kind of handbook. He had served Florence as a diplomat and had observed kings and princes in foreign courts. He had also studied ancient Roman history. In The Prince, published in 1513, Machiavelli offered a guide to rulers on how to gain and maintain power. It combined his personal experience of politics with his knowledge of the past.
The Prince did not discuss leadership in terms of high ideals, as Plato had. Instead, it looked at real rulers in an age of ruthless power politics. Machiavelli stressed that the end justifies the means. He urged rulers to use whatever methods were necessary to achieve their goals.
This 1474 painting by Italian Renaissance artist Andrea Mantegna is called The Court of Mantua. An Italian nobleman was Mantegna's patron and commissioned art works like this.