St Peter’s Basilica


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A study on the architecture of St Peter's Basilica, Rome.

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St Peter’s Basilica

  1. 1. St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome
  3. 3. • The Saint Peter’s Church, also called St. Peter’s Basilica is a late Renaissance church within Vatican City. It is Europe’s largest Christian church. • It is the second church to stand above the crypt (tomb) believed to hold the body of Saint Peter, the first pope. • St. Peter’s is built in the shape of a cross.
  4. 4. • There has been a church on this site since the 4th century. • Construction of the present basilica, over the old Constantinian basilica, began on 18 April 1506 and was completed on 18 November 1626. • As a work of architecture, it is regarded as the greatest building of its age.
  5. 5. OLD ST. PETER’S BASILICA (Constantinian Basilica)
  6. 6. OLD ST. PETER’S BASILICA (Reconstructed Building Plans)
  7. 7. Nero’s Circus, Old St. Peter’s, New St. Peter’s Approximate ground plan: Note that the base of the northern grandstand of the circus becomes the foundation of the southern wall of Old St. Peter’s. Peter’s tomb was just north of the road that ran along the northern side of the Circus. It became the centre of the crossing of the naves and transepts of both the Old and New St. Peter’s.
  8. 8. HISTORY
  9. 9. • The first St. Peter’s Church was begun by Constantine the Great about 325. He built the church to celebrate his acceptance of Christianity. • The church was modeled on the Basilica, a rectangular building used as a meeting hall by the Romans. Four rows of columns, extending almost the length of the church, divided it into a nave with two aisles on either side.
  10. 10. • In 1452, Pope Nicholas V began to restore and expand the church. The restoration continued until 1506, when Pope Julius II decided to rebuild the church completely. • During its construction, 10 different architects worked on St. Peter’s and changed its design. • The first architect was Donato Bramante. He designed a domed, perfectly symmetrical church in the form of a Greek cross(a cross with four arms of equal length).
  11. 11. ARCHITECTS 1. Donato Bramante - Bramante proposed a Greek Cross plan, the centre of which would be surmounted by a dome slightly larger than that of the Pantheon. 2. Giuliano Da Sangallo – He strengthened and extended the peristyle of Bramante into a series of arched and ordered openings around the base. In his hands, the rather delicate form of the lantern, based closely on that in Florence, became a massive structure, surrounded by a projecting base, a peristyle and surmounted by a spire of conic form, but the plan was simply too eclectic to be considered.
  12. 12. ARCHITECTS 3. Raffaello Sanzio - The main change in Raphael's plan is the nave of five bays, with a row of complex apsidal chapels off the aisles on either side. 4. Baldassare Peruzzi - Maintained changes that Raphael had proposed to the internal arrangement of the three main apses, but otherwise reverted to the Greek Cross plan and other features of Bramante. 5. Antonio Da Sangallo The Younger - Main practical contribution was to strengthen Bramante's piers which had begun to crack.
  13. 13. ARCHITECTS 6. Michelangelo – He reverted to Bramante’s original design, the Greek Cross and converted its snowflake complexity into massive, cohesive unity. 7. Jacopo Barozzi da Vignola Appointed by Pope Pius V as a watchdog to make sure that Michelangelo's plans were carried out exactly after his death. 8. Giacomo Della Porta - He subsequently altered Michelangelo’s design by adding of lion's masks over the swags on the drum in honor of Pope Sixtus and adding a circlet of finials around the spire at the top of the lantern, as proposed by Sangallo. Also proposed to raise the outer dome higher above the inner one.
  14. 14. ARCHITECTS 9. Carlo Maderno He made the most significant contribution since Michelangelo, because he pulled down the remaining parts of Old St. Peter's and proceeded to transform Michelangelo's centralized Greek-cross design into a Latin cross with a long nave. 10. Gian Lorenzo Bernini He was regarded as the greatest architect and sculptor of the Baroque period. Bernini's works at St. Peter's include the baldacchino, the Chapel of the Sacrament, the plan for the niches and loggias in the piers of the dome and the chair of St. Peter.
  15. 15. PLANNING
  16. 16. BRAMANTE’S PLAN Donato Bramante won Pope Julius II Della Rovere’s design contest for the new church. Bramante proposed a Greek Cross plan, the centre of which would be surmounted by a dome slightly larger than that of the Pantheon.
  17. 17. RAPHAEL’S PLAN Raphael’s plan was for a basilica in the form of a Roman Cross with a short pronaos and a façade.
  18. 18. MICHELANGELO’S PLAN Michelangelo changed Bramante’s plan for a balanced and restful dome into a dynamic construction. He put a drum(ring) at the base of the dome that appears to be squeezing the dome and forcing its sides to spring upwards. He shortened Raphael’s nave, but Carlo Maderno added back the nave and added the famous façade.
  19. 19. CARLO MADERNO’S PLAN He made the most significant contribution since Michelangelo, because he pulled down the remaining parts of Old St. Peter's and proceeded to transform Michelangelo's centralized Greek-cross design into a Latin cross with a long nave.
  20. 20. MADERNO’S PLAN
  21. 21. MADERNO’S PLAN • This extension of the basilica was undoubtedly necessary from the point of view of practical requirements, but it destroyed Michelangelo's great conception and substituted something less impressive, since the great dome can no longer be appreciated from every point of view. • As a result of these alterations, Maderno had to design a facade which would not detract too much from the dome and, at the same time, would be worthy of its setting and also contain a central feature, the Benediction Loggia, to provide a frame for the figure of the pope when he appeared in public. • These conflicting requirements were met as far as possible by Maderno's adaptation of a typical Roman palace facade, with decorative motives taken from Michelangelo's works. •The plan to provide bell towers at the ends to enframe the dome in distant views had to be abandoned because the foundations gave trouble. The work, including the decoration, was completed and consecrated on Nov. 18, 1626.
  22. 22. MADERNO’S FAÇADE. •The façade designed by Maderno, is 114.69 metres (376.3 ft) wide and 45.55 metres (149.4 ft) high. •It is built of travertine stone, with a giant order of Corinthian columns and a central pediment rising in front of a tall attic surmounted by thirteen statues: Christ flanked by eleven of the Apostles (except Peter, whose statue is left of the stairs) and John the Baptist.
  23. 23. THE EXTERIOR • The church was given an impressive setting by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, one of its architects. • An avenue almost 1.5 kilometers long leads from the Tiber River to the Piazza Di San Pietro (Square Of St. Peter), a large open space in front of the church. • A red granite obelisk (shaft) stands 26 meters high in the piazza’s centre. It was brought to Rome from Egypt about A.D. 37, and was moved to the piazza in 1586. • The Piazza which was completed in 1667, contains two fountains and two colonnades (rows of columns) arranged in semicircles on opposite sides of the Piazza.
  24. 24. THE INTERIORS • The interior of the church is decorated in Baroque style. • Bernini, who was also a sculptor, created many of its famous features in the 1650s. • He built the elaborate bronze baldacchino (canopy) over the main alter, which stands beneath the dome. It closes the extremely long sweep of the nave and is 95 Ft. high. • As may be seen in the accompanying plan, the four principal divisions of the basilica extend from the dome and are connected with each other by passages behind the dome piers. • To the right and the left of the nave lie the smaller and lower aisles, the right of which is bordered by four lateral chapels, the left by three chapels and the passage to the roof.
  25. 25. THE INTERIORS • The general decoration consists of colored marble incrustations, stucco figures, rich gilding, mosaic decoration, and marble figures on the pilasters, ceiling, and walls. • The paneling of the pavement in geometric figures is of colored marble after the designs of Giacomo della Porta and Bernini. • Beneath it is the Confession of St. Peter, where the body of the Prince of Apostles reposes – the tomb of St. Peter’s. • No chairs or pews obstruct the view; the eye roves freely over the glittering surface of the marble pavement, where there is room for thousands of people.
  26. 26. DIMENSIONS • Major axis of the piazza - 1115.4 feet. • Minor axis of the piazza - 787.3 feet. • Vestibule of the basilica - 232.9 feet wide, 44.2 deep, and 91.8 high. • Height and width of the nave - 151.5 feet and 90.2 feet respectively. • Entire length of the basilica including the vestibule - 693.8 feet. • From the pavement of the church (measured from the Confession) to the oculus of the lantern resting upon the dome the height - 404.8 feet; • To the summit of the cross surmounting the lantern - 434.7 feet. • The measurements of the interior diameter of the dome vary somewhat, being generally computed at 137.7 feet, thus exceeding the dome of the Pantheon by a span of 4.9 feet. •The surface area of St. Peter's is 163,182.2 sq. feet.
  28. 28. Presented by – Aishwarya Hari Khushboo Sood Gandharv Krishna