Architect Donato Bramante
Date ca. 1502-11
Movement High Renaissance
Located at San Pietro in Montorio, Rome
This structure was commissioned by Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain as a martyrium upon the place at which it was believed that St. Peter had been crucified. While Bramante hearkens to the circular forms of ancient Roman temples (thus inspiring the name “little temple”) Bramante also employs the mathematical precision proposed by Vitruvius, Brunelleschi and Alberti; for example, the distance between each column is four-times its diameter, and the distance between each column and the wall is twice its diameter.
Deep niches in the second story of the façade help to counterbalance the dome above; this balance would have been further emphasized by an outer, circular courtyard that would have perfectly responded to the temple. Massive cornices and metopes hearken back to the grandeur and prominence of early Rome while making the structure appear larger than it actually is.