The Basilica of St. Peter Vatican City's St. Peter's Basilica (Photo by Didier Moise/CC). St. Peter's Basilica, designed by Alberti, Raphael, Bramante, Michelangelo, and Bernini, was possibly the most famous achievement of Renaissance architecture. The basilica is based on the Greek cross plan with a central nave and two arms containing many chapels. The structure combines Roman and Christian elements and has been described as the first modern skyscraper.
The word "basilica" comes from the Greek bahios, meaning royal, because it was originally built to house the tombs of three kings. It later became a place of prayer for slaves and people of low social status.
In English, the term "Renaissance man" is used to describe someone who is expert in several fields of knowledge or practice. In the same way, the Renaissance architect was someone who was capable of designing buildings that were innovative and advanced for their time. Although St. Peter's Basilica was not the only important project during this period, it does represent the work of many leading artists and architects from different parts of Italy. That makes it clear that the Renaissance was more than just a fashion trend - it was an era when great changes took place in Europe, including in architecture.
There are various types of buildings within the category of Renaissance structures, but probably the most famous is the basilica.
Ten of Italy's Most Important Renaissance Structures
The Basilica of St. Peter is one of the most famous buildings in Rome and it is also considered a masterpiece of architecture. It was designed by Italian humanist and philosopher Leonardo da Vinci and it was completed in 1521 after his death. The basilica stands out for its large size, its many columns and its beautiful dome.
The building has been altered several times over the years but it remains one of the most important churches in Christianity. It is located on the Vatican Hill above the Roman Forum and it is surrounded by other important churches such as Santa Maria Maggiore and San Giovanni in Laterano.
The design of the basilica follows the classical models established by Greek and Roman architects who were inspired by real temples like those in Egypt and Greece. Da Vinci used polychrome marble from Carrara in Italy to decorate some of the rooms inside the basilica.
He also designed two other churches in Rome that are still standing today: Santa Maria della Vittoria and Santa Maria sopra Minerva.
In 1536, after years of work, da Vinci's great project was finally completed.
The inside of St. Peter's Basilica is magnificently adorned with marble, reliefs, architectural sculpture, and gilding. The basilica has numerous graves of popes and other prominent persons, many of which are regarded remarkable pieces of art. In addition, there are other statues in niches and chapels, including Michelangelo's Pieta. Finally, the basilica has a number of paintings by famous artists such as Raphael and Caravaggio.
In conclusion, the interior of St. Peter's Basilica embodies many qualities that define the Renaissance style. There is much fine work done in marble, gold, and paint. Also, there are many figures sculpted from bronze and stone. These include prophets, apostles, kings, and martyrs. There are also several tombs in the basilica with elaborate sculptures on them. Last but not least, the overall design of the church is based on Greek and Roman models with some modifications made by Michelangelo.