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Rare tapestry depicting Rafael’s “School of Athens” arrives from France to Greece

A rare 18th century tapestry depicting master Rafael’s “the School of Athens” has arrived to Greece from France on the occasion of the bicentennial celebrations of the Greek Independence War against the Ottoman Empire.

The French parliament has loaned the tapestry master Raphael, to the Greek Parliament.

The impressive wall hanging in wool, silk and gold thread, measuring 8.9 m by 4.95 m, had been woven in the workshops of the Manufacture des Gobelins between 1734 and 1737, after a cardboard by Valentin de Boulogne, inspired by the frescoes that Raphael executed between 1508 and 1512 in the Vatican.

It had been hanging in the French Assembly since 1879, when the chambers of the Third Republic returned to Paris, which previously sat in Versailles.

The loan to Greece has been described as a gesture of commemoration of the bicentennial of the Greek War of Independence.

In a message on Twitter, Secretary General of the Hellenic Parliament George Mylonakis thanked French lawmakers for the gesture and described the work as “an ode to Greek thought that laid the foundations of Democracy.”

The High Renaissance fresco “The School of Athens” represents all the greatest mathematicians, philosophers and scientists from classical antiquity gathered together sharing their ideas and learning from each other.

These figures all lived at different times, but here they are gathered together under one roof by Rafale who painted the fresco between 1509 and 1511 as his commission to decorate the rooms now known as the Stanze di Raffaello, in the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican.

The tapestry was reportedly restored in August 2020.

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One comment

  1. This is a loan, yes, but I really think the UK should return the Parthenon marbles for good! They have nothing to do in the UK, they belong in Athens!