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ST. PETER'S BASILICA
Transcript of ST. PETER'S BASILICA
ST. PETER'S TOMB AT VATICAN HILL
THE OLD ST. PETER'S BASILICA
The history begins with the martyr of St. Peter, first of the twelve apostles of Jesus, the Bishop of Rome and the first pope of the Roman Catholic Church. The crucifixion took place near an ancient Egyptian obelisk in the Circus of Nero. The obelisk now stands in Saint Peter's Square and is revered as a "witness" to Peter's death. Almost three hundred years later, Old St. Peter's Basilica was constructed over this site.
The site where St. Peter was buried with Nero's circus highlighted
Friday, September 5, 2014
HISTORY OF THE CHURCH'S CONSTRUCTION
The popes Nicholas V (1447-1455) to Innocent the IX (1676-1689) mobilized great resources to build the new basilica of St. Peter's. However, its construction was always subjected to the political and financial fortunes of the Roman Church and therefore not a top priority for all the popes. The history of its design and construction is thus highly fragmented. Its is essentially a succession of periods of fervent activity and of abandonment con construction, very much dependent on the successes or misfortunes of men on Peter's throne. In precisely which year St. Peter's basilica was begun is not known. The year 332 has been suggested for the foundation date by Toynbee and Perkins.
ST. PETER'S BASILICA
Latin: Basilica Sancti Petri
Italian: Basilica di San Pietro in Vaticano
It was started by Constantine the Great between 319-333 AD. It was of typical basilica Latin cross form. It contained a large number of burials and memorials, including those of most of the popes from St. Peter to the 15th century. The basilica thus built has an interesting development as it contained under it the tombs of the popes and below that was the necropolis which is known as city of death.
Cross section of the old St. Peter's with necropolis and tombs below it
THE RESTORATION OF THE OLD ST. PETER'S
Beginning with the restoration in 1447 on the Constantanian Basilica during the papacy of
Pope Nicholas V
(1447 –1455) by
Leon Battista Alberti
was the first intervention into the almost 1200 years old historic basilica, with a vision to rebuild Rome, the Eternal City as a second to Jerusalem.
Rossellino was appointed responsible for the restoration work while Alberti being in close contact with the pope played an equally important role. Both architects worked on stabilising the walls of the Old Basilica. Alberti designed the
Loggia della Benedizione
, and Rossellino began its construction.
Loggia della Benedizione or the central balcony by Leon Battista Alberti
THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE NEW ST. PETER'S BASILICA
THE ARCHITECTS: ALBERTI & ROSSELLINO
Italian humanist author, artist, architect, poet, priest, linguist, philosopher and cryptographer; he epitomised the Renaissance Man. The Florentine architectural theorist who confirmed the poor condition of Old St. Peter’s Basilica.
Leon Battista Alberti
Bernardo di Matteo del Borra Gamberelli was an Italian sculptor and architect who embraced and held true to the classical revival in both sculpture and architecture. He inititated the work on the basilica's choir.
Ultimately, it would be the plans of
Pope Julius I
(1503-1513) that would form the new St. Peter’s. Instead of renovating the old church, Julius I declared the entire building structurally unsound. Working with the design by the architect
(144- 1514), the cornerstone for a new basilica was laid in 1506. The plan was based on the shape of the Greek cross, which had arms of equal length. Four smaller domes would top towers at each end with a larger dome over the high altar.
centralized Greek cross plan
Bramante's proposed dome influenced from the Pantheon but with cupola on top supported only on four large piers.
Bramante’s sketch showing apsidal terminations of the arms
Medal showing Bramante's concept of the exterior
expression of the plan.
Design Variant for the new St. Peter’s Basilica. This drawing was made by an artist from the San Gallo group, under the guidance of Bramante.
After Julius II died in 1513 followed by Bramante a year later in 1514. The project fell into different hands. In 1516 Raphael was appointed chief architect of construction. Leo X's extravagant lifestyle and artistic love led to bankruptcy which led to lack of financial resources. In addition, two groups of architects working on the same project viz. Raphael and Giocondo versus Giuliano da Sangallo and his assistants made it difficult to establish design responsibilities as well as concertize the main idea.
-nave and two aisles
on either sides and narthex
RAPHAEL SANTI VS GUILLANO SANGALLO
Guiliano de Sangallo
Antonio da Sangallo the Younger, the next chief architect, presented his design to the pope in 1521 yet the financial inadequacies due to Leo X continued to constrain the progress severely. Sangallo proposed a return to the latin cross, a combination of the Greek cross with an extension that formed a separated space forming a transition to the narthex. The exteriorexpression was a combination of various elements: mainbody, towers, dome, etc
Antonio da Sangallo the Younger’s plan
north elevation, north section
and east elevation with towers and dome.
Wooden Model by Antonio da Sangallo the Younger built from 1539 - 1546. This model was the biggest and most expensive of the Italian Renaissance period. Built to Scale 1:25. Approx. size8.0 x 4.5 m
Michelangelo’s design, South section
and south elevation
The last phase of fabbrica begins with Michelangelo's design as the chief architect. Michelangelo, then in his seventies and an already experienced architect,took total control of the design and construction,and, unlike his predecessors, did not subject himself to the administrative bureaucrats stating he would deal with only the Pope on matters of design and construction of the new basilica. He immediately reverted back to the Greek cross plan, only simplifying the organization and increasing the size of the pillars that would support the dome and added the east façade to give it a prominent façade. He designed the dome on the lines of Filippo Brunelleschi's Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral in Florence. He died leaving the southern apse complete and the drum almost entirely complete.
Model of dome and drum built by Michelangelo along with Giocomo della Porta
Bernini was an Italian artist and a prominent architect, who worked principally in Rome. He was the leading sculptor of his age, credited with creating the Baroque style of sculpture. By August of 1657, Bernini was able to place his proposed arcades with colonnades, resulting in one of the most successful pieces of architecture ever built. Atop the colonnade roofline sit ninety-six statues of saints. The colonnades enclose an arena, which is nearly 200 meters across, with the capacity to hold three hundred thousand people in its vicinity at one time.
GIAN LORENZO BERNINI : THE TITLE ARCHITECT
the archades with colonnades in the St. Peter's Square
Baldacchino bronzed canopy
structure located in the center
of the crossing
the Cathedra (bishops seat) in
the apse. One of the final
masterpieces of Bernini.
the evolution of St. Peter's Basilica floor plan
INTERIOR DETAILS OF ST. PETER'S BASILICA
EXTERIOR DETAILS OF ST. PETER'S BASILICA
the holy door
St. Peter's chair
detail of the dome
man's eye view
facade with statue
statues of saints
(total of 140)