5 replies
  1. Cornelio
    Cornelio says:

    I know that you have a thorough knowledge of Raphael’s Stanze della Segnatura. I had the pleasure to hear Art Historian Elizabeth Lev say, before these frescos that they used to be called Philosophy and Theology, she was referring to The School of Athens and The Disputation on the Holy Sacrament, but now during the reign of Pope Benedict XVI, they can be called Reason and Faith respectively. ( The compatibility of Faith and Reason was the theme of his pontificate.)


  2. tja
    tja says:


    The Stanza della Segnatura was the library of Julius II. My understanding is the painting program for the room was designed to reflect the categories used to organize a 15th century library: Religion (The Disputation), Art, Philosophy (School of Athens) and Law.

    Interesting to note that the two images oppose each other (rather than being one image), and, if it is any comfort, even we atheists can at times be unreasonable.


  3. Cornelio
    Cornelio says:

    Lev’s point is that Faith and Reason are complimentary not oppositional and that is historically accurate as far as intent, the Renaissance program of Pope Julius II.

  4. tja
    tja says:

    The “program” was to wrangle, as much as possible, the Classical ideals and philosophies (and Jewish texts) into the Christian wake in order to “prove” that all that came before was a direct and intended precursor to the rise of Christianity. Hence, Michelangelo’s Jewish Heroes in the Sistine Ceiling or his Apollo as Christ in the Last Judgement or Raphael’s inclusion of, well, everything, in the School of Athens in the Papal Apartments.

    Nicholas V himself admitted this in his papal bull, circa 1450:

    “A popular faith, sustained only by doctrine, will never be anything but feeble and vacillating. But if the authority of the Holy See were visibly displayed in majestic buildinsg, imperishable memorials and witnesses seemingly placed by the hand of God himself, then tradition would grow and strengthen from one generation to another and all the world would accept and revere it. Noble edifices, combining beauty and taste with imposing proportions will immediately conduce to the exaltation of the chair of St. Peter.” (I’m pulling that from memory, so forgive me if it isn’t accurate word for word.)

    Julius II took that and ran with it 50 years later.

  5. Cornelio
    Cornelio says:

    Indeed, and praise God for that.
    “The only really effective apologia for Christianity comes down to two arguments, namely, the saints the Church has produced and the art which has grown in her womb.” Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, The Ratzinger Report, Messori, 1988

    Also from memory and from Pope Benedict,

    The Church must retain the wisdom of Jerusalem and the wisdom of Athens.

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