Date designed ca. 1545
Movement Late Renaissance
Located at Capitoline Hill, Rome
In continuing his campaign to reassert Rome’s power, Paul III, together with the Conservators of Rome, commissioned Michelangelo to renovate the Campidoglio—the city’s seat of authority and its original center atop the Capitoline Hill. Michelangelo reworked the façades of the existing Senator’s Palace (center) and Conservators Palace (right), also adding a “New Palace” to balance the space; he was further instructed to work the space in between these buildings, designing an oval space of diamond patterns that rose towards the center; atop this mound, he created a pediment upon which the equestrian monument of Marcus Aurelius.
Michelangelo seamlessly links the Palazzos with the piazza by allowing for an open portico on the lower level, utilizing piers of the colossal order to tie the lower level with the upper; atop the architrave of the upper level he sets a grand cornice, upon which he places a balustrade and several marbles. As refined and beautiful as Bramante’s public structures are, they come no where close to Michelangelo’s when it comes to recreating the grandeur and boldness of ancient Rome, as seen here.
Though the entire program was completed after Michelangelo’s death, little of the construction deviated from his original plans.