This image is "The School of Athens" by Raphael Sanzio da Urbino, painted between 1509 and 1511.
This image is "The Last Judgement" fresco by Michaelengelo Buonorotti, painted over four years time between 1536 to 1541.
The first image is during the apex of the High Renaissance when man was the measure of all things, the Classical worlds of Greece and Rome was being revived by the neo-Platonists, human achievement was glorified and all things seemed possible. Man could accomplish anything.
Note in the first order, structure, straight lines, clean streets, and magnificent examples of the male world of thought standing around debating great ideas or working together on some project or another. Particularly note in the center Plato and Aristotle debating the nature of the world; friends, one his hand pointing into the air espouses the metaphysical theoretic, the other beckoning to the earth emphasizes the earthly practical. They are unified.
The second image is chaotic, terrifying, like a whirlwind of bodies thrown about in the storm; the damned torn down to hell, one damned soul looking out in despair at the world of the living (us), Saint Bartholomew with his skin (Michelangelo's self-portrait) draped over his arm, even the heaven above being little more than naked or half-naked people floating about on clouds. No industry, no discussion, no discovery - all eyes riveted on the central figure of Christ. And note the posture, one hand gesturing in power and menace, ready to smite the damned and banish the wicked, but also gesturing toward the metaphysical, the other at rest below, consoling perhaps, but also gesturing down to the earthly. It is Plato and Aristotle now fused into one figure, but no longer individuals, no longer friends, no longer benign - rather judgmental, dangerous, threatening.
I sometimes think of these two frescoes as hanging on opposite ends of the same room - bookends for the Renaissance. What began in such freshness of thought, an open window letting in the breeze, seems to have ended with the storms of conflict, despair, doubt, and violence. The great letters of Petrarch became the "words, words, words" of Hamlet. The wonderful sketches of da Vinci became the siege engines and torture devices of the religious wars. The beautiful bucolic scene of Boticelli's Primavera became the Blinding of Sampson by Rembrandt van Rijn.
In between the two ends of the room occurred the posting of the 95 theses in 1517 by Luther - a legitimate critique that threw down the gauntlet against Rome, despite Erasmus' warnings to the contrary; the sack of Rome in 1527 by the forces of Charles V in which 40000 people perished and Pope Clement was forced to hunker down in Castel San Angelo whilst the city burned; the Act of Supremacy in England which separated a syphilitic Henry VIII from Christendom; and the publication of Machiavelli's The Prince in 1537 which burned like acid against the hegemony of Europe. It's no wonder that what started as a brotherly enterprise of thought, art, and culture ends with a violent apocalypse by a fed up Christ. Do we ever have a chance as a race to get it right?