Architect Bramante’s contemporaries recognized the Tempietto for achieving “all'antica” (like the ancients) design. Although at the time it was a modern design, its composition was so perfect that it seemed as though it had always existed. (JHSmith/The Epoch Times)
The Tempietto in Rome is at once a reflection of divine order and a monument to St. Peter. It was designed by Italian architect and painter Donato Bramante in 1502 during the High Renaissance, a time when architects sought to give form to the enlightened understanding of life and the universe and transcend the heights of classicism.
The Tempietto, or small temple, unites heaven and earth with perfect geometry and proportions that emulate the perfection of divine realms. The sphere and circle repeated throughout represent unity and completeness, and they are associated with spiritual attainment.
The temple inspires contemplation of divine realms. The lower level is defined by a solid platform with a colonnade of weighted Doric columns and the thick, cylindrical walls that form the body of the building. By contrast, the upper level extends the circular form. A balustrade establishes a balcony; with open niches, subtle ornaments, and an open feeling, it beckons us to a desirable place.
However, without passage to ascend to the balcony, we are left to ponder whom it is for. The balustrade and dome gesture skyward, where the mind is set adrift to ponder what may lay beyond.
The small temple is a monument to St. Peter, who was the first pope, appointed by Jesus himself. In honoring St.Peter, the building appropriately speaks to his character. The temple has a noble and dignified presence, yet its modest size and ornament reflect Peter’s simple honesty. The robust structure and materials show his strength: his perseverance in divinely bestowed virtues.
The harmonious composition of Bramante’s Tempietto is simply beautiful, illuminating life and the universe.
James Howard Smith
James Howard Smith, an architectural photographer, designer, and founder of Cartio, aims to inspire an appreciation of classic architecture.