received a hearty welcome from Pope Julius, and in the chamber of
the Segnatura he painted...Aristotle and Plato, with the Ethicsand
Timaeusrespectively, and a group of philosophers in a ring
about them. Indescribably fine are those astrologers and geometricians
drawing figures and characters with their sextants. ...The next
figure, with his back turned and a globe in his hand, is a portrait
of Zoroaster (see iconography).
Beside him is Raphael himself, drawn with the help of a mirror.
He is a very modest-looking young man, of graceful and pleasant
mien, wearing a black cap on his head. ...The minor considerations,
which are numerous, are well thought out, and the composition of
the entire scene, which is admirably portioned out, show Raphael's
determination to hold the field, without a rival, against all who
wielded the brush. He further adorned his work with a perspective
and many figures, so delicately and finely finished that Pope Julius
caused all the other works of the other masters, both old and new,
to be destroyed, that Raphael alone might have the glory of replacing
what had been done."
Vasari, The Lives of the Most Excellent Architects, Painters,
and Sculptors,2nd edition, Forence, 1568