The Early Modern World, C. 1300–1600

High Renaissance in Italy

Why is the tiny Tempietto an important example of High Renaissance architecture?

The Tempietto is a small, circular church, officially called the Church of San Pietro in Montorio, Rome. It was designed around 1502 by Donato Bramante, a famed architect from Urbino who was later hired to design St. Peter’s Cathedral. Tempietto means “little temple” and its style is reminiscent of an ancient pagan temple. It was built over what is believed to be the site of St. Peter’s crucifixion and housed relics associated with the apostle. Bramante’s design was very much in tune with Classical aesthetics popular during the Renaissance, especially in Italy. The architectural elements are mathematically proportioned and the overall style is unified, making the building almost like a work of sculpture. The simplicity of the exterior, along with the use of Classical columns, a dome, and hemispherical entablature, inspired many other building projects in Rome. Though small, the Tempietto is one of the most significant examples of High Renaissance architecture in Italy.


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