Ground-plan of St. Peter's, Rome

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“Michel-Angelo assumed such considerable and prominent position by his genius and authority, that his example necessarily entailed imitation and produced effects on subsequent times. When his deviations were moderate, they were considered by his imitators merely as marks of the originality of his wonderful talent, and by this means proved stepping-stones to the degeneration which marked the ensuing period of the Roccoco style. Amongst his architectural works, the design of the Capitol at Rome, with its wings, may be considered as the most pleasing, whilst as a testimony to his lofty genius the mighty and glorious dome of St. Peter’s at Rome, which has no rival in the world, must be adducted as a striking instance. This dome was only completed after Michel-Angelo’s death. Both as regards its colossal dimensions, as well as its beautiful proportions and lines, it produces, both internally and externally, a most wonderful impression. It should be remarkable that Michel-Angelo, like Bramante before him, selected the form of the Greek cross for his church, and planned the dome accordingly, and that the nave, which is by Carlo Maderno, is, both externally and internally, prejudicial to the effect of the dome.” The Papal Basilica of Saint Peter (Latin: Basilica Sancti Petri), officially known in Italian as the Basilica Papale di San Pietro in Vaticano and commonly known as St. Peter’s Basilica, is located within the Vatican City. St. Peter’s has the largest interior of any Christian church in the world, holding 60,000 people. It is regarded as one of the holiest Christian sites and has been described as “holding a unique position in the Christian world” and as “the greatest of all churches of Christendom". In Catholic tradition, it is the burial site of its namesake Saint Peter, who was one of the twelve apostles of Jesus and, according to tradition, first Bishop of Rome and therefore first in the line of the papal succession.


A. Rosengarten, W. Collett-Sandars A Handbook of Architectural Styles (New York, NY: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1895)


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