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At the beginning of the XIV century, Pope Julius II held a kind of competition for the construction of a new Catholic monument. It was required to demolish the old St. Peter's Basilica, which was erected by Emperor Constantine in the 4th century. This ancient church was out of favor with the new pope. In such a bold decision, the huge ambitions of Julius II, who seeks to exalt not so much the institution of the papacy as himself, are certainly felt. As a result, the project was entrusted to an architect from the small town of Fermignano named Donato Bramante.
The cornerstone of the main Catholic church was laid on April 17, 1506. A scanty number of Bramante's drawings have survived to this day, however, the monumentality of the structure can also be judged by the records of his assistants.
Bramante developed a plan based on the design of the Pantheon dome, standing on a round wall with no entrances and windows, with the exception of one door. The whole building is very tall and wide. The dome is built of concrete, with inclusions from a large number of tuff, volcanic stones and pumice. The dome is also bent from the inside, which creates both horizontal and vertical effect, while reducing the overall load on the walls. At the top there is an eye hole with a diameter of 8 meters, through which light penetrates inside. Bramante’s plan also included four large chapels, which were supposed to fill the corner spaces, and were closed by small domes surrounding the largest.
Thus, the initial design of Bramante in form was much more Romano-Byzantine than the basilica, which was completed much later, after the death of the architect in 1514.
Composition By Shishkin's Painting Winter