The new St Peter's Basilica Complex, Rome 1506 -1667
What the human spirit is capable of achieving!
by Dr Christopher Evan Longhurst
St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome – “new”? In fact one might say “ever new.” This two-part lecture explores the sixteenth century High Renaissance basilica, its construction, art and architecture, along with its Baroque piazza and subterranean infrastructure. The lectures present this complex as new not only insofar as the present building replaced the old fourth century basilica of Constantine the Great, or because its architects are considered by Romans as “modern” amidst the history of their ancient city, but also because of its revered commitment to new “epiphanies” of beauty in modern times.
From the High Renaissance to the High Baroque; from Julius II (r.1503-13) to Alexander VII (r.1655-67); from Bramante’s classic floor plan to Michelangelo’s colossal dome, from Maderno’s imposing facade to Bernini’s captivating piazza, from imperial Roman architecture to modern abstract sculpture, these lectures unfold the history, art and architecture of the present-day St. Peter’s basilica complex as tribute to what constitutes a spiritual, cultural, and political coalition, sometimes peaceful, other times turbulent, between rival popes and artists who produced, arguably, the greatest human achievement ever—Basilica Sancti Petri in Urbe.
A must for connoisseurs of fine culture, art history, religion and the arts, or anyone who has visited or wants to visit this remarkable, unique and influential site.
Click HERE to explore some of the basilica's features and the floor plan.