Italian painter and architect Raphael lived from 1483 to 1520 and is considered to be one of the most important artists of the Italian High Renaissance. In addition to his career as a painter in Florence and at the papal court in Rome, he also became site manager of St. Peter's Basilica and supervisor of Roman antiquities. During his lifetime he enjoyed the privilege of being known only by his first name and even today few people know his full name: Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino. The souvenir sheet published to mark the 500th anniversary of his death features one of his famous works as well as a "Self-portrait" (face value: CHF 6.30) of the artist.
Raphael painted the fresco "The School of Athens" for Pope Julius II between 1510 and 1511 in the "Stanza della Segnatura" of the Vatican, the original room where documents were signed within the Papal apartments. The painting, which is about 7.7 metres wide, shows a monumental interior in which a gathering of eminent scientists and philosophers from the Antiquity to the Renaissance is taking place. The title of the painting refers to the outstanding philosophical school of thought of ancient Greece. In the spirit of the Renaissance, the fresco celebrates ancient thought as the origin of European culture, its philosophy and sciences.