PortadaPatronsRestorationsRaphael's School of Athens

The School of Athens, detail of Plato & Aristotle

The School of Athens, detail of Tolomeo & Zoroastro

The School of Athens by Raphael has been admired during the course of nearly five hundred years. Nowhere was this more evident than during the unveiling of the restoration of this masterpiece on April 22, 1996. Patrons and their guests from all areas of the United States joined Mrs. Henry J. Gaisman, benefactress of the restoration project, in marveling at the revealed genius of Raphael's palette.

The new publication, Raphael's School of Athens, by Prof. Arnold Nesselrath, Director for Byzantine, Medieval and Modern Art, describes the details of the magnificent restoration he directed with the Vatican Museums restoration team led by Enrico Guidi.

Several hand prints that date from the time of the fresco's execution were found in an almost straight line across it at the height of the shafts of the pilasters. Although a detailed analysis of the fingerprints has not yet been undertaken, one hand must almost certainly be Raphael's. The others could belong to his assistants or to visitors on the scaffold. This discovery placed the artist and restorers into sudden communion. The generosity and vision of those who help conserve Raphael's art will enable us into the 21st century to still appreciate and be moved by his visual legacy.