Back to School… in Athens!
Rapheal's classic painting, a wonderful piece of art that could be framed

The School of Athens! A famous painting of a near mythological place. Raphael’s piece from the early 1500s is eye catching and enchanting. Featuring a large number of figures lounging about, contemplating, and discussing various topic. The painting is not historically accurate, nor is intended to be. Besides the use of some building techniques not known at the time, like the iconic arch, the figures in this painting are from many times and places. Of course, here in the modern day, we can mat and frame them any which we way like, something they would surely be jealous of.

Yes, that’s right. Many of the figures shown here in the School are not random faces. Though not all have been identified, and many are in dispute, there are a number who are clearly meant to depict certain people from history. The two most noticeable are Aristotle and Plato, the central figures of the painting. They are very interesting men, who represent two different ways of thinking about the world.

A morbid piece of classic art by Rembrandt that could use a matboard to perk it up

Broadly speaking, Aristotle was more of a scientist, shown above in a painting by Rambrandt. He was interested in finding rational, provable explanations for the world around him. He would look at things in nature and want to find out more about them, about ho they worked. He studied the four elements in an attempt to find out what the world was made of. He also wrote about storytelling, economics, physics, and government. Indeed, it was men like him who discovered the golden ratio, which is so helpful in framing, and many aspects of the design.  

Another classic piece showing Green history, which would look striking if displayed with a matboard and frame

Plato was different, more of a philosopher, shown partly in the painting above by Jacques-Louis David (who’s work we have looked at before), which is technically focused on Plato’s own teacher, Socrates. His studies overlapped Aristotle, in that he also wrote about the ideal forms of government and morality. But he worked with ideals, more based on theory than observation of existing ideas. His Allegory of the Cave is an interesting way of looking how the way the world is shaped.

Plato and Aristotle, as the central figures, represent the two very different ways of thinking about the word, which leads to one of my favorite observations about the piece. The actual historical figures in the paintings are on their proper side of the school. That is, the “scientists” tend to go on the right with Aristotle, and the philosophers on the left with Plato. This is more of a theory, since the identities of the figures aren’t all 100% confirmed, but I always thought it helped bring this piece together.

Recommended Reading

Let It Snow, Let It Snow

Let It Snow, Let It Snow It’s been a long, cold few weeks for a lot of us. Cold weather and ice can be a big pain or worse for sure. However, it can also be beautiful and fun. We always try to focus on the beautiful things in the world at Matboard and More …

read more »
We’re on a Boat

We’re on a Boat I will admit, most of what I knew about Renoir came from the movie Amelie. It’s a great movie that I would recommend to anyone, certainly, but not the best place to turn if you want to learn more about Renoir. However, I hope to at least show you a little …

read more »
Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! New Year’s Eve is one of my favorite holidays. It’s just about having fun! It’s about saying farewell to the old year and looking forward to the next. Weather you make resolutions, or take a Polar Plunge, or just have a good time, New Year’s Eve is just great. And it wouldn’t …

read more »
A Little Bit About Jacob Lawrence

A Little Bit About Jacob Lawrence I had seen a few of Jacob Lawrence’s pieces from time to time, though I had never known his name. I was recently able to put a name to the pieces I had seen, and decided to read a little more about him and his style. It is a …

read more »
A Little Light on the Nighthawks

A Little Light on the Nighthawks I have liked Hopper’s “Nighthawks” since I first saw it. It’s one of the more famous pieces of American art, so I thought I would take a close look at it this week. If you’d like to do the same from the comfort of your own home, you can …

read more »
Van Gogh’s Lonesome Sale

Van Gogh’s Lonesome Sale It is one of the sadder facts of Van Gogh’s life that he only sold one painting while he was alive. We will look into that in a little bit, but for now I want to concentrate on this painting. As often as I had heard that story, I realized I …

read more »
Love is in the Air…

Love is in the Air… Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. It can be tough to find a great present every year, but don’t worry- we’re here to help. We have some special Valentine’s Matboards that you can order hassle free, and have a memorable, touching gift for the special someone in your life. …

read more »
A New Year, a New Photo Contest!

A New Year, a New Photo Contest!   December’s winner is this excellent piece from Instagram! Submitted by HiGirlie760, this piece reminded us of everything like we like about summer.  PRIZES The winner will get a $100 Matboard and More Gift Card.   HOW TO ENTER Upload your photo of your art with our mats or frames using any …

read more »
The Unpaintable City- Monet in Venice

The Unpaintable City- Monet in Venice We’re in the holiday rush here at Matboard and More, just like some of you I’m sure! There’s still time to get in Christmas orders, so have a look at our new multi-opening frames. However, even when busy, it’s important to take some time to enjoy yourself. As a …

read more »
Items per page:
1 - 9 of 128
You Have An Unfinished Order