The Construction of St. Peter's Basilica Essay

The Construction of St. Peter's Basilica Essay

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The Constantinian, or Old St. Peter’s, Basilica was constructed c. 354 BCE. Having recently gained control of the land where the Vatican now sits, Constantine desired to display his power and wealth by building something magnificent. The grave of St. Peter was chose as the site for Constantine’s exhibition. Old St. Peter’s Basilica marked the alleged site of his burial, and became the most important building in the Roman Catholic Church. Pilgrimage to this shrine became the goal of many Christians throughout the Middle Ages and Early Renaissance. In 1420, shortly after the Great Schism, Pope Martin V returned the papacy to Rome and noticed the disarray that had fallen upon the basilica. Martin performed a few partial restorations, but nothing lasting. By 1455, the structure was falling apart. Pope Nicholas V desired to fully reconstruct the edifice, but he died before completing any plans. It was not until 1506, with the papacy of Julius II, that actual progress happened.
Pope Julius II decided to demolish Old St. Peter’s and erect a completely new structure in its place. This idea was highly contested due to the venerated status of the old building. However, the pope was confident in the accomplishments of the Renaissance architects, and believed that this new building should exemplify the wealth and power of the Roman Catholic Church. Funded mainly by indulgences, Julius continued with his plans and constructed the “greatest building in Christendom.”
Bramante, a Renaissance architect, was the first to undertake the design of the basilica. He was already well known for is construction of Il Tempietto, or, The Little Temple, built on the supposed site of St. Peter’s crucifixion. His history with the saint and impeccable work ...

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...le to gather near the church; it perfectly accentuated the grandeur of the previous architect’s endeavors.

Works Cited
Bannister, C. Turpin. "The Constantinian Basilica of Saint Peter at Rome." JOURNAL OF THE SOCIETY OF ARCHITECTURAL HISTORIANS Volume 27, no. 1 (1968): 3-32.
Campbell, Ian. "The New St Peter's: Basilica or Temple?." Oxford Art Journal Volume 4, no. 1 (1981): 3-8.
Gordon, George. The Complete Poetical Works of Lord Byron: In Two Volumes. Philadelphia: Moses Thomas, 1813
Matthews, Roy T., F. DeWitt Platt, and F.X. Thomas Noble. The Western Humanities Volume II: The Renaissance To The Present. 7th Edition ed. New York: McGraw Hill, 2011.
Spielvogel, Jackson J.. Western civilization. 8th ed. Boston: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning, 2012.
Stokstad, Marilyn, and Michael Watt Cothren. Art History. 4th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall, 2011.

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