Art Analysis of “Man in a Red Turban” and “The School of Athens”

Introduction to the school of Athens

The school of Athens is a fresco done by the Italian reminiscence artist called Raphael between the years 1510-1511. While this painting was done to commemorate his respect for, the Greek scholars comprised of thinker and philosophers. While this painting was done on the well of a fresco room the Stanze di Raffaello, in the Apostolic Palace, Raphael shows his keenness to details and goes ahead to demonstrate or picture the classical spirit of high renaissance. The painting depicts philosophy of the classical time sand this can be seen from the garments and the architecture. Each figure in the painting represents a philosopher, mathematician or a thinker of the classical era. Thru painting also, demonstrate thinkers can solve Raphael’s argument about how the world problem can be solved easily by the people in the picture bellow

The School of Athens

Introduction to the Portrait of a Man in a red turban

The Portrait of a Man in a red turban is one of the works of the early nether land art asters called Jan van Eyck, from 1433. The oil paintings also detailed considering the brush strokes and the number of elements of arts combined to improve the look and feel of the painting.

The man in red turban

The effects that The School of Athens painting exemplifies


While Raphael uses lines to create depth and shape in two dimensions, Jan van Eyck uses physical lines to emphasize depth and accuracy. For example, looking at the picture, he has emphasized blood vessels that are clearly visible despite the wrinkled skins. Such details can only be seen in the work of people like Leonardo da Vinci. Use of lines in these two painting indicate how two classical eras saw art and the varying quality of art between these two classical artists. Additionally, details can be seen in the bright oil colors and how the brush stroke indicates the earmarks. It is also important to note that while Raphael uses chiaroscuro to improve the 3D quality of this painting especially considering the picture of Euclid in front of the picture with a compass in hand and leaning towards a tablet.

Tone and value

Jan van Eyck uses tenebrism to illuminate the line details looking at the face that he has completely illuminated. The turban is also illuminated to show the details especially around the section covering the ears of the portrait (sitter).The frame has lines indicating the details of the inscription ‘Als Ich Can’ and ‘Jan van Eyck made me on 21 October 1433’ at the topi and bottom respectively. Depth is also demonstrated using lines as one can think the writing were engraved or curved in the frame.

Depth can be seen from the direction of the gaze. This indicates the use of light and dark. For example, the face is illuminated and shows the foreground while the other parts are dark (Buzon-Vallet, &, Laugier, 1984, pp. 198- 205). The painting seems like it is done in a dark room or the person being painted may be emerging from a dark area into light. He has also defined shape and tone of the shoulder and the headdress as the light seems to be falling from the top left corner


Jan van Eyck has used space to create depth. For example, the dark background, the light foreground has different shades. The areas around the figure are dark to show that the sitter is coming from a dark area. The use of negative space is quite clear in Jan van Eyck’ painting, while the use of positive space is clearly visible in rappel’s painting

On the other hand, Raphael uses light to illuminate some of the most important people in the picture. For example, he uses whitespace around plat and Aristotle (middle figures), and combines shadows and chiaroscuro in the painting of Socrates, Euclid and Pyrrho


Shapes in the paintings are defined by the ages around an object, and the use of line, space, texture as well as color and form in a two dimensional space. For example, in Raphael’s drawing, both geometric shapes and organic shapes are used, while in Jan van Eyck is drawing only geometric shapes are used especially in the formation of the face of the sitter and the shoulders. The painter has used both chiaroscuro and sfumato to define the shapes. It is clear the the sitter’s shoulder is undersized and unpropotional (Saltzman, 1998)

Principles of design


Balance in the man in a red turban is very poor (asymmetrical) and cannot be compared to the balance in the school of Athens. For example, Raphael has arranged lines, shapes and colors in a way that make the balance more symmetrical giving all the elements in the picture equal weight and as can be seen, it is easy to draw an imaginary line in the picture and feel the balance. However, Jan van Eyck has achieved harmony in his painting despite the asymmetry

Emphasis and subordination

While both artists have used emphasis to draw attention to focal points, Jan van Eyck has used lines to create emphasis especially in the face, while Raphael has used white space to create a focal point. Considering the white background, the value composed of white and black creates an emphasis on the focal points. Additionally, subordination has been achieved by using intensity and color to direct attention to the focal point (Barnet, 1997, p. 79).


While both arts are different, the use of both principles of design and the elements of art is unique. Both pictures enemy to complement each other because while one uses subordination, the other uses intensity. Additionally, while one uses asymmetrical balance the other uses symmetrical balance.


Sylvan Barnet, (1997). A Short Guide to Writing about Art. New York: Longman, p. 79.

Cynthia Saltzman, (1998). Portrait of Dr. Gachet: The Story of a van Gogh Masterpiece. Money, Politics, Collectors, Greed, and Loss. New York: Penguin.

Laure de Buzon-Vallet and Claude Laugier, in Sasha Newman, (1984), Bonnard: The Late Paintings (Paris: Centre Georges Pompidou, 198.

Denise Schmandt-Besserat, (2007). When Writing Met Art: from Symbol to Story.Austin: University of Texas Press,


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