You are on page 1of 40


The Saint Peters Church, also called
St. Peters Basilica is a late
Renaissancechurch within Vatican City.
It is Europes 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. Peters is built in the shape of a
There has been achurch on this
sitesince the 4th century.
Construction of the present basilica,
over the oldConstantinian 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.
(Reconstructed Building Plans)
Neros Circus, Old St. Peters, New St. Peters
Approximate ground plan: Note that the base of the northern grandstand of the circus becomes
the foundation of the southern wall of Old St. Peters. Peters 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. Peters.
The first St. Peters 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.
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. Peters 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
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.
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.
6. Michelangelo
He reverted to Bramantes 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 Michelangelos 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.
9. Carlo Maderno
He made the most significant contribution
sinceMichelangelo, 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 longnave.

10. Gian Lorenzo Bernini

He was regarded as the greatest architect and sculptor of
theBaroqueperiod. 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.
Bramante won
Pope Julius II
Della Roveres
design contest
for the new
proposed a
Greek Cross
plan, the
centre of which
would be
surmounted by
a dome slightly
Raphaels plan was for a
basilica in the form of a
Roman Cross with a short
pronaos and a faade.
Michelangelo changed
Bramantes 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 Raphaels
nave, but Carlo
Maderno added back
the nave and added the
He made the most
significant contribution
because he pulled
down the remaining
parts of Old St. Peter's
and proceeded to
centralized Greek-
cross design into a
Latin cross with a
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 notdetracttoo 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.
The faade designed by Maderno, is
114.69 metres (376.3ft) wide and 45.55
metres (149.4ft) high.
It is built oftravertinestone, with a
giant order of Corinthian columns and a
central pediment rising in front of a
tallatticsurmounted by thirteen statues:
Christ flanked by eleven of
theApostles(except Peter, whose statue
is left of the stairs) andJohn the Baptist.
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
piazzas 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.
The interior of the church is decorated in Baroque
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 thebasilicaextend from
thedomeand are connected with each other by
passages behind thedomepiers.
To therightand the left of thenaveliethe smaller
and loweraisles, the rightof which is bordered by
The general decoration consists of colored marble
incrustations, stucco
figures,richgilding,mosaicdecoration, and marble
figures on the pilasters, ceiling, and walls.
The paneling of the pavement in geometric figures is of
colored marble after the designs ofGiacomo della
Beneath it is theConfessionofSt. Peter, where the body
of thePrinceofApostles reposes the tomb of St.
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.
Major axis of the piazza - 1115.4 feet.
Minoraxis of the piazza - 787.3 feet.
Vestibuleof thebasilica - 232.9 feet wide, 44.2
deep, and 91.8 high.
Height and width of thenave - 151.5 feet and 90.2
feet respectively.
Entire length of thebasilicaincluding thevestibule -
693.8 feet.
From the pavement of thechurch(measured from the
Confession) to the oculus of thelanternresting upon
thedome the height - 404.8 feet;
To the summit of thecrosssurmounting thelantern -
434.7 feet.
The measurements of the interior diameter of
thedomevary somewhat, being generally computed at
137.7 feet, thus exceeding thedomeof the Pantheon
Presented by
Aishwarya Hari
Khushboo Sood
Gandharv Krishna