Bramante, Donato


Donato Bramante, (dōnäˈtō brämänˈtā), 1444–1514, Italian Renaissance architect and painter. His buildings in Rome are considered the most characteristic examples of High Renaissance style. In 1477 he painted frescoes in the municipal palace at Bergamo. In Milan and neighboring cities including Pavia and Vigevano, he executed paintings that recall works by Piero della Francesca and Mantegna. Bramante designed much of the Church of Santa Maria presso San Satiro in Milan; its famous choir, painted in perspective, gives an illusion of great depth, although it is extremely shallow. He may also have planned the east end of Santa Maria delle Grazie, a spacious domed appendage to an older Gothic church. After 1499 he left for Rome, where he designed the simple but graceful cloister for Santa Maria della Pace and the exquisitely proportioned circular Tempietto in the courtyard of San Pietro in Montorio. His other works in Rome include the Belvedere courtyard at the Vatican, designs for a massive Palace of the Tribunals, the choir of Santa Maria del Popolo and other churches. His most important work, however, was his plan for St. Peter's, probably conceived as a centrally planned (Greek cross) and domed structure of enormous size and impressiveness. He favored central plans and a sense of noble severity, especially in his Roman period. Although St. Peter's was later remodeled into a longitudinal structure, Bramante is responsible for the essential proportions of the east end, and his design influenced the appearance of many smaller churches.


Tempietto, (1502)

The "Tempietto", located inside San Pietro in Montorio, Roma,  is one of the most harmonious buildings of the Renaissance, taking inspiration from ancient buildings such as the Temple of Vesta and the Roman Pantheon. The temple was constructed from bearing masonry. The building is a single chamber temple, 15 ft in diameter, with a hemispherical, concrete dome over a drum (first time in history) at the top, and a perfectly-spaced series of niches and pilasters on the main body. The circular temple supports a classical entablature, and was framed in the shadowy arch of the cloister. It is the earliest example of the Tuscan order in the Renaissance and the first structure since antiquity to have a colonnade surround the entire building. It is meant to mark the traditional exact spot of St. Peter's martyrdom. 

Given all the transformations of Renaissance and Baroque Rome that were to follow, it is hard now to sense the impact this building had at the beginning of the 16th century. It is almost a piece of sculpture, for it has little architectonic use, however, proved to be a stepping stone for Bramante as he was awarded the commission for the Basilica of Saint Pietro after the Pope Julius II saw the Tempietto.


New Saint Pietro Basilica (1505)

In November 1503, Julius engaged Bramante for the construction of the grandest European architectural commission of the 16th century, the complete rebuilding of Saint Pietro Basilica. Bramante proposed an appropriately bold Greek-gross design in 1505. The scheme, which represented a building similar in scale to the Baths of Diocletian capped by a dome comparable to the Pantheon. Rather than merely continuing patterns of antiquity, Bramnate was attempting to out do Roman builders by proposing a domed structure more ambitious than any ancient edifice. The structural concept of a dome and drum supported on pendentives and semi-circular arches actually had more in common with Byzantine work.

The cornerstone of this vast project was laid with ceremony on April 18, 1506, as a labor force of 2500 began the foundations for the crossing piers. Very few drawings by Bramante survive, though some by his assistants do, demonstrating the extent of the team which had been assembled. Bramante died in 1514, when they were barely above ground and construction stops. The church was finally completed some 150 years later and almost every major architect of the 16th and 17th centuries had been involved. Hence, the rebuilding of Saint Pietro is comprised of several periods, from High Renaissance to the Baroque.

Major Archtectural Work:




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