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Encyclopedia > Saint Peter's Square

Coordinates: 41°54′8″N, 12°27′23″E Saint Peter's Square, or Saint Peter's Piazza (Piazza San Pietro, in Italian), is located directly in front of St. Peter's Basilica, in Vatican City, the papal enclave within Rome (the Piazza borders to the East the rione of Borgo). Map of Earth showing lines of latitude (horizontally) and longitude (vertically), Eckert VI projection; large version (pdf, 1. ... The Basilica of Saint Peter, officially known in Italian as the Basilica di San Pietro in Vaticano and commonly called Saint Peters Basilica, is one of four major basilicas of Rome (St. ... Nickname: Motto: SPQR: Senatus Populusque Romanus Location of the city of Rome (yellow) within the Province of Rome (red) and region of Lazio (grey) Coordinates: Region Lazio Province Province of Rome Founded 21 April 753 BC Government  - Mayor Walter Veltroni Area  - City 1,285 km²  (580 sq mi)  - Urban 5... Rione (plural: rioni) is the name given to a ward in several Italian cities, the best-known of which is Rome. ... Logo of the rione Borgo is the XIV rione of Rome. ...

Saint Peter's Square and Basilica, 1909.
Saint Peter's Square and Basilica, 1909.

Contents

Image File history File links Download high resolution version (936x221, 45 KB) Description Saint Peters Square (Piazza San Pietro), Rome, 1909 Source www. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (936x221, 45 KB) Description Saint Peters Square (Piazza San Pietro), Rome, 1909 Source www. ...

History of the Square

The open space which lies before the basilica was redesigned by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, from 1656 to 1667, under the direction of Pope Alexander VII, as an appropriate forecourt, designed "so that the greatest number of people could see the Pope give his blessing, either from the middle of the façade of the church or from a window in the Vatican Palace" (Norwich 1975 p 175). Bernini had been working on the interior of St Peter's for decades; now he gave order to the space with his renowned colonnades, using the Tuscan form of Doric, the simplest order in the classical vocabulary, not to compete with the palace-like façade by Carlo Maderno, but he employed it on an unprecedented colossal scale to suit the space and evoke emotions of awe. Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini (Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini; December 7, 1598 – November 28, 1680) was a pre-eminent Baroque sculptor and architect of 17th century Rome. ... // Events Mehmed Köprülü becomes Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire. ... // Events January 20 - Poland cedes Kyiv, Smolensk, and eastern Ukraine to Russia in the Treaty of Andrusovo that put a final end to the Deluge, and Poland lost its status as a Central European power. ... Alexander VII, né Fabio Chigi (February 13, 1599 – May 22, 1667) was Pope from April 7, 1655 until his death in 1667. ... In classical architecture, a colonnade denotes a long sequence of columns joined by their entablature, often free-standing, as in the famous elliptically curving colonnades that Bernini added to the facade of Saint Peters Basilica in Rome, which embrace and define the Piazza. ... The Doric order was one of the three orders or organizational systems of Ancient Greek or classical architecture; the other two canonic orders being the Ionic and the Corinthian. ... Façade of St. ...

The Piazza as it was in 1630, painted by Viviano Codazzi
The Piazza as it was in 1630, painted by Viviano Codazzi

The site's possibilities were under many constraints from existing structures (illustration, right). The massed accretions of the Vatican Palace crowded the space to the right of the basilicas's façade; the structures needed to be masked without obscuring the papal apartments. The obelisk marked a center, and a grani te fountain by Carlo Maderno[1] stood to one side: Bernini made the fountain appear to be one of the foci of the ellipse[2] embraced by his colonnades and eventually matched it on the other side, in 1675, just five years before his death. The trapezoidal shape of the piazza, which creates a heightened perspective for a visitor leaving the basilica and has been praised as a masterstroke of Baroque theater (illustration, below right), is largely a product of site constraints. Download high resolution version (840x650, 139 KB) Viviano Codazzi painting of St. ... Download high resolution version (840x650, 139 KB) Viviano Codazzi painting of St. ... Viviano Codazzi (1606 or 1611 - 1672) is an Italian painter of landscapes or vedute during the Baroque period, active mainly in Rome and Naples. ... The Luxor obelisk in the Place de la Concorde in Paris For other uses, see Obelisk (disambiguation). ... Façade of St. ... For other uses, see Ellipse (disambiguation). ... Enormous colonnade of the Kazan Cathedral in St Petersburg. ... Year 1675 (MDCLXXV) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Friday of the 10-day slower Julian calendar). ...


The colossal Doric colonnades, four columns deep,[3] frame the trapezoidal entrance to the basilica and the massive elliptical area[4] which precedes it. The ellipse's long axis, parallel to the basilica's façade, creates a pause in the sequence of forward movements that is characteristic of a Baroque monumental approach. The colonnades define the piazza. The elliptical center of the piazza, which contrasts with the trapezoidal entrance, encloses the visitor with "the maternal arms of Mother Church" in Bernini's expression. On the south side, the colonnades define and formalize the space, with the Barberini Gardens still rising to a skyline of umbrella pines. On the north side, the colonnade masks an assortment of Vatican structures; the upper stories of the Vatican Palace rise above. The Doric order was one of the three orders or organizational systems of Ancient Greek or classical architecture; the other two canonic orders being the Ionic and the Corinthian. ... Adoration, by Peter Paul Rubens. ...

Re-erection of the obelisk in 1586
Re-erection of the obelisk in 1586

At the center of the ellipse stands an Egyptian obelisk of red granite, 25.5 meters tall, supported on bronze lions and surmounted by the Chigi arms in bronze, in all 41 meters to the cross on its top. The obelisk, of the 13th century BC, was moved to Rome in AD 37 by the Emperor Caligula to stand in the central spina of the Circus Gai et Neronis, which lay to the left of the present basilica. It was moved to its current site in 1586 by the engineer-architect Domenico Fontana under the direction of Pope Sixtus V; the engineering feat of re-erecting its vast weight was memorialized in a suite of engravings (illustrated right). The Vatican Obelisk is the only obelisk in Rome that has not toppled since Roman times. During the Middle Ages, the gilt ball on top of the obelisk was believed to contain the ashes of Julius Caesar.[5] Fontana later removed the ancient metal ball, now in a Rome museum, that stood atop the obelisk and found only dust. Though Bernini had no influence in the erection of the obelisk, he did use it as the centerpiece of his magnificent piazza. Image File history File linksMetadata 1586_Rome_obelisk_erection. ... Image File history File linksMetadata 1586_Rome_obelisk_erection. ... The Luxor obelisk in the Place de la Concorde in Paris For other uses, see Obelisk (disambiguation). ... Not to be confused with the older and larger Circus Maximus. ... 1586 was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar or a common year starting on Saturday of the Julian calendar. ... Domenico Fontana (1543 – 1607) was an Italian architect of the late Renaissance. ... Pope Sixtus V (December 13, 1521 – August 27, 1590), born Felice Peretti, was Pope from 1585 to 1590. ... There are eight ancient Egyptian and five ancient Roman obelisks in Rome, together with a number of more modern obelisks; there was also formerly (until 2005) an ancient Ethiopian obelisk in Rome. ... For other uses, see Julius Caesar (disambiguation). ... A self portrait: Bernini is said to have used his own features in the David (below, left) Gian Lorenzo Bernini (Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini) (December 7, 1598 - November 28, 1680), who worked chiefly in Rome, was the pre-eminent baroque artist. ...


The paving is varied by radiating lines in travertine, to relieve what might otherwise be a sea of cobblestones. In 1817 circular stones were set to mark the tip of the obelisk's shadow at noon as the sun entered each of the signs of the zodiac, making the obelisk a gigantic sundial's gnomon. The term zodiac denotes an annual cycle of twelve stations along the ecliptic, the apparent path of the sun across the heavens through constellations that divide the ecliptic into twelve equal zones of celestial longitude. ... The cantilever spar of this cable-stay bridge, the Sundial Bridge at Turtle Bay, forms the gnomon of a large garden sundial The gnomon is the part of a sundial that casts the shadow. ...

Bernini's piazza was extended by the Via della Conciliazione, Mussolini's grand avenue of approach.
Bernini's piazza was extended by the Via della Conciliazione, Mussolini's grand avenue of approach.

St. Peter's Square today can be reached from the Ponte Sant Angelo along the grand approach of the Via della Conciliazione (in honor of the Lateran Treaty of 1929). The spina which once occupied this grand avenue leading to the square was demolished ceremonially by Mussolini himself on October 23, 1936 and was completely demolished by October 8, 1937. St. Peter's basilica was now freely visible from the Castel Sant Angelo. The effect of its demolition however was to destroy the characteristic Baroque "surprise". The Via della Conciliazione was completed in time for the Great Jubilee of 1950. Image File history File linksMetadata Size of this preview: 800 × 449 pixelsFull resolution (4200 × 2359 pixel, file size: 5. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Size of this preview: 800 × 449 pixelsFull resolution (4200 × 2359 pixel, file size: 5. ... Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini (Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini; December 7, 1598 – November 28, 1680) was a pre-eminent Baroque sculptor and architect of 17th century Rome. ... A photograph of Saint Peters Square and the area now occupied by the Via della Conciliazione, taken c. ... Benito Mussolini created a fascist state through the use of propaganda, total control of the media and disassembly of the working democratic government. ... A photograph of Saint Peters Square and the area now occupied by the Via della Conciliazione, taken c. ... The Lateran Treaties of February 11, 1929 provided for the mutual recognition of the then Kingdom of Italy and the Vatican City. ...


Notes

  1. ^ It was set up in 1613 by order of Paul V
  2. ^ The actual foci are marked in the paving by roundels of stone six or seven meters beyond the outer ring of the compass rose centered on the obelisk, on either side. When the visitor stands on one, the ranks of columns line up perfectly behind one another. (Touring Club Italiano, Roma e Dintorni).
  3. ^ There are 248 columns and 88 pilasters; 140 over lifesize saints crown the cornice; the coats of arms are of Alexander VII.
  4. ^ The ellipse is 240 meters across.
  5. ^ Touring Club Italiano, Roma e Dintorni, which furnishes the statistics in these notes.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to:

Paul V, né Camillo Borghese (Rome, September 17, 1552 – January 28, 1621) was Pope from May 16, 1605 until his death. ... Alexander VII, né Fabio Chigi (February 13, 1599 - May 22, 1667) was pope from April 7, 1655 until his death in 1667. ... Image File history File links Commons-logo. ...

See also

Logo of the rione Borgo is the XIV rione of Rome. ...

Reference

  • Touring Club Italiano, Roma e Dintorni

Further reading

  • Norwich, John Julius, ed. 1975 Great Architecture of the World ISBN 0-394-49887-9

External links

  • [1] retrieved June 12, 2007

  Results from FactBites:
 
saint peters square: the reconciliation of the vatican with Rome (366 words)
saint peters square: the reconciliation of the vatican with Rome
The Maderno's facade of saint Peter's stood along the eastern edge of the square, while in the north of the square was concluded by the buildings of the vatican palaces and the Leonine wall.
The square is composed by 284 columns divided in two groups of 142 each and on top of the columns there are in total 140 statues of the most important saints of Christendom.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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