Konstantinos Gravanis                                                                      National and Kapodistrian University of Athens

 

Volume 5, October 2023

 Abstract
The encyclopaedic iconography of the Stanza della Segnatura in the Vatican Palace (1508–11) is
one of the most widely discussed yet elusive decorative schemes of Italian Renaissance art. This
article reconsiders and expands Edgar Wind’s reading of the room’s ceiling as a coordinated
programme of symbolic correspondences based on the structural and thematic device of the four
elements. Contextual analysis and iconographic examination of Raphael’s wall paintings as a unified
set shows that his four faculties of knowledge (Theology, Poetry, Philosophy, Jurisprudence) are
abstractly associated with the four elements of nature (Fire, Air, Water, Earth), a sophisticated
conception of the room’s intellectual microcosm as a reflection of the universal macrocosm.

Keywords
Stanza della Segnatura; Raphael; Iconography; Edgar Wind; The Four Elements

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The Edgar Wind Journal 5: 3-38, 2023
DOI: 10.53245/EWJ-000024
Copyright: © 2023 K. Gravanis. This is an open access, peer-reviewed article published by Bernardino Branca