(35) The Colonnade in St. Peter's Square is not finished! Bernini's original design plan and his intention, which you can see differently if you know

Travels in Rome" - Charms of the Theater City of Rome and Pilgrimage to Bernini

Travels in Rome] (35) The Colonnade in St. Peter's Square is not finished! Bernini's original design plan and his intention, which you can see differently if you know.

I would like to introduce St. Peter's Square, a huge space right in front of St. Peter's Basilica.

Article about this St. Peter's Square when I visited here in 2019.The beauty of St. Peter's Basilica, designed by Michelangelo and Bernini, is explained in the Vatican, Italy (Part 6).But I told you about it.

This article has explained the basics of St. Peter's Square and what this square means, and this article will go deeper from there to look at this square.

So let's get started.

Three difficulties in the construction of St. Peter's Square - What are the bad conditions of the square that were actually full of problems?

Pope Alexander VII ascended the throne in 1655. This pope, who was Bernini's strongest patron, immediately entrusted him with a major project.

Alexander VII was very passionate about the maintenance of St. Peter's, which had been neglected during the reign of Innocent X. The year after his accession to the throne, he immediately issued a decree for the expansion and improvement of the square in front of St. Peter's. Construction of St. Peter'sthe Sacred MinistrycongregazioneThe "Mere Old Man" immediately ordered Bernini to devise a plan that would serve as a springboard for the project.

However, the construction of St. Peter's Square posed three difficult problems.

The first was the problem of the site. First, the site had to be built on a "boot-shaped" site, since it was impossible to demolish a series of important buildings on the right (north) side of the square, facing the church. In addition, the fountain and the obelisk of Maderno, which were already in the square, had to be taken into account (the only one that remained standing during the Middle Ages, which was moved by St. Peter's in 1587 by Sixtus V and made an ornament of the square). Sixtus V moved it in 1587 and made it an ornament of the square. The work of moving and re-erecting the obelisk required 44hoistalgano (edible plant, Allium album)It took about 100 workers, 900 laborers, and 140 horses to complete the project, and it has long been talked about in the annals of history. (Domenico Fontana, who completed the first obelisk decoration in Rome, proudly wrote a book about this difficult project.)
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Masumi Ishinabe, Yoshikawa KobunkanBernini, Giant Star of Baroque Art.p149

This painting depicts what St. Peter's Square looked like before it was built.

The left picture shows the construction of the dome of St. Peter's Basilica. Of course, the cloister and facade were not completed. The right picture shows the Vatican in 1593, when all but the facade was completed. You can see the buildings clustered in the area that is now St. Peter's Square.

The current Piazza San Pietro is the result of a major renovation of such a place. If you know what it looked like before the square was built, you will feel more of Bernini's greatness.

The moving of the obelisk by Sixtus VWikipedia.

Incidentally, this is the movement of the obelisk discussed in the commentary above. The overwhelming scale is better conveyed by seeing it in pictures than by hearing it in words. The impact is so great that it is almost laughable. It would not be surprising if this became the narrative of posterity.

The second problem was to successfully meet practical requirements. The greatest challenge was to accommodate as many of the faithful as possible who would gather to receive the pope's blessing. Yet, as is still the case today, the pope had to make sure that the facade of theBlessed LoggiaLoggia della BenedizioneThe blessing had to be given not only from the window of the Palazzo Apostolico on the right side facing the church, but also from the window of the Palazzo Apostolico on less important occasions, so that in both cases there would be no hindrance. In addition, a temporary device was usually used in the past years to make it work,Eucharistic feast day processionCorps Domini ProcesionIt would have been even more ideal if the building had also served as an arcade through which the

Masumi Ishinabe, Yoshikawa KobunkanBernini, Giant Star of Baroque Art.p149-150

In addition to the land difficulties of the plaza itself, it also demanded something even more useful in practical terms. But that was not the end of the story.

Third, there is the aesthetic issue. In other words, the façade of St. Peter's, which had been left incomplete because of the abandonment of the bell tower project, was to be as high and elegant as possible. Bernini paid particular attention to this point and designed an original piazza that successfully solved these difficult problems.

The piazza, which was required not only to serve its own function but also to complement St. Peter's, is composed of two parts: a trapezoidal section (piazza retta) flanked by aisles in front of St. Peter's and an elliptical section anchored by a colonnade, the main body of the piazza. By keeping the rhythm of the unbroken colonnade to the facade and keeping it low, Bernini has made the facade appear higher and grander. The low colonnade also allows the Pope's blessing from the windows of Palazzo Apostolico to be seen from the piazza, and the colonnade form was very convenient for the procession on the feast of the Eucharist. The obelisk was placed in the center of the ellipse, and the fountain was moved to a new location and a new counterpart fountain was built to balance the left and right sides of the building. In this way, the problem was successfully solved.
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Masumi Ishinabe, Yoshikawa KobunkanBernini, Giant Star of Baroque Art.p150

Thus, after overcoming numerous difficulties, St. Peter's Square was built. Bernini was enthusiastic about overcoming adverse conditions to create something beautiful. The Basilica of Sant'Andrea al Quirinale, which I introduced earlier, is a typical example. (See also.(33) Basilica Sant'Andrea al Quirinale - Bernini's Pantheon, an architectural masterpiece!(See article in)

One can only be amazed at Bernini's ability to perfectly meet the demands of practicality and beauty as well as the adverse conditions of the land.

Bernini was also inspired by the Colosseum

Bernini also noted that the circular form is most beautiful with its independent columns and flat entablature, and the architectural composition of the colonnade is very simple, as is evident in these words. The colonnade is based on Doric columns and Ionic entablature, with a central axis baieprismballastroThe columns and entablature are simple, powerful, and smooth. The simple, powerful, and smooth rhythm of the colonnade and entablature continues uninterrupted.

The reason why Bellini rejected the triglyphic Doric entablature in favor of the "flat" Ionic one must have been because he wanted the colonnade to have an uninterrupted flow. Such anomalous combinations are also found in Renaissance and Baroque architecture, and it is said that Bellini may have learned them from the perimeter of the Colosseum.

He is on top of this Ionic entablature.(a person) shining like the stars or moonBalaustro.On each of the columns are 140 statues of saints that he modeled and had his assistants create. Without this ornamentation, the colonnade would have been a monotonous geometric form and a cold classical style. The colonnade as an architectural structure is so simple and rigorous that it is truly classical.

Nevertheless, when one actually visits the plaza, one senses a certain dynamism, or what I would call a grandiose dynamism, a restrained sense of movement. It is not clear, however, whether this is due to the elliptical space of the plaza, the effect of the colonnades and obelisks, or the statues of saints on the balustrades. At any rate, as in the case of Bernini's churches, the architecture is composed of classical elements, but as a whole, theperformingshenographicThe baroque space is certainly created with a certain effect.
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Masumi Ishinabe, Yoshikawa KobunkanBernini, Giant Star of Baroque Art.p152-153

It was surprising to learn that the Colosseum had influenced this colonnade.

As for the Colosseum, you can read about it in this travelogue.(5) The Colosseum, a symbol of ancient Rome, and Goethe Andersen: The Romantic figure that captivated the literati.I spoke about this in my article on the subject and would like to refer to it here.

St. Peter's Square, which was actually an unfinished work - Existence of the phantom Third Colonnade

Here we are told an astonishing fact that is quite different from the St. Peter's Square we know. I too was shocked by this passage.

The construction of St. Peter's Square was an enormous undertaking. The width of the square, or the long axis of the inertia circle, is 240 meters, and the 17-meter-wide colonnade surrounding it has 44 columns, each 13 meters high. Even just considering the 140 statues of saints standing on the pillars, it is a daunting task. After the completion of the colonnade, work continued on the pavement of the plaza. In the end, it took many more years to complete the project.

However, it must be said that the square is still incomplete as a work of Bernini's today, because he intended to close it with a "third colonnade. The square is still unfinished, however, because he intended to close it with a "third colonnade," which would have been the first of its kind. However, when the paving work was prioritized after the north-south colonnade, the strict Inocentius XI replaced Alexander VII, and the "Third Colonnade" was completed.Third colonnadeTerza Braccia.(*Alexander VII died in 1667, followed by Clement IX, Clement X, and then Inocentius XI in 1676.) The square remains to this day with a large opening.

During this period, however, an event occurred that drastically changed the appearance of the square. During the Mussolini era (1935-1936), the Via della Conciliazione was built to connect the Ponte Sant'Angelo directly to the square. The current situation, however, has spoiled Bernini's intention and has reduced the value of the square by half. The addition of the "third colonnade" created an enclosed space in the piazza, which Bernini intended to open up suddenly before the eyes of pilgrims who crossed the Ponte di San Tangelo and came through the narrow streets of Borgo. He wanted to surprise the pilgrims by making the piazzaperformingshenographicHe wanted to enhance the effect of the "Theatre Mundi" and make it literally a different world. If the piazza had been completed according to his plan, the impression of the square would have been clearer and its meaning as the "Teatrum Mundi" (Theatre of the World) would have been clearer. In contrast, the newly constructed Via della Conciliazione has the advantage of showing the whole of St. Peter's, but its view never seems to allow one to appreciate the beauty of St. Peter's. The path through the disgusting shapes typical of Fascist-era buildings, into the piazza, and toward St. Peter's, is a rare example of a path that is not only beautiful, but also a great pleasure to walk.a buildingmonumentThe author feels that this is too unfortunate for the square. The reader is advised to take the bus or subway to the last stop and enter the square from Porta Angelica.
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Masumi Ishinabe, Yoshikawa KobunkanBernini, Giant Star of Baroque Art.p154-156

The colonnade of St. Peter's Square was not originally open, but closed! The image above is Bernini's proposed plan, drawn by an artist named Falda.

If this had been realized, it would certainly have been a more "dramatic space" as described in the commentary above. It is not too late to do something about it, I would think.

St. Peter's Square as seen from Via della Conciliazione, a street built during the Mussolini era. If Bernini's plan had been implemented, only the colonnade and the dome would be visible from here. The facade of St. Peter's Basilica would hardly be visible. If you pass through the colonnade, you will suddenly see the overwhelming sight of St. Peter's Basilica. This is dramatic.

The Via della Conciliazione itself is said to have destroyed the beauty of St. Peter's Square, so the Vatican as we take it for granted is not quite what it was originally intended to be. If the Vatican were to be restored as it was originally intended, we would be even more impressed.

The reputation of St. Peter's Square and beyond

From the planning stage, Bernini's square was criticized by many, and there were even counter-proposals. Once completed, however, it literally won acclaim. And this independentpillared corridorcolonnateThe original idea of a square with a "piazza" was to have a profound influence on the rest of Europe for more than two centuries to come.

However, the social situation in Rome during the reign of Alexander VII was worsening day by day. Niccolò Sagredo, Venetian ambassador to Rome, wrote: "The Pope has long taken a special interest in the beautification of the city and the repair of its streets. The Pope has long taken special care of the beautification of the city and the repair of its streets, and in this work he has far surpassed his predecessors. The construction of the colonnade surrounding St. Peter's Square at ...... will be a great reminder of the greatness of ancient Rome. This work is halfway finished and is said to take another three years. I am not going to debate whether it is appropriate for such an effort to be undertaken today. I will leave that to those who understand these matters better than I do. However, it is a fact that while Rome is building more and more, there are fewer and fewer people living there. This decrease in the number of inhabitants is significant and obvious to all. In Via del Corso and in the rest of the downtown area, you can see nothing but empty houses and rental posters," he said. And seven years later, Giacomo Cuglieri, the next ambassador, who did not value the Bellini colonnade, wrote: "All this confirms the worst rumors that more than one million scudi have been wasted on a series of destructive mistakes.

However, the great legacy of Alexander VII and Bernini lives on today. Not only on special holidays such as Christmas and Easter, but also on the weekly papal blessings held in this square and on theaudience (with someone)Udienza.The plaza is truly a place where many believers gather in theplayhousetheatreThe reason for this is that it is the first time that the Bernini square has been visited by a visitor. In order to properly appreciate the value of the Piazza Bernini, it is definitely necessary to visit the Piazza on these occasions.
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Masumi Ishinabe, Yoshikawa KobunkanBernini, Giant Star of Baroque Art.p156

A child prodigy from an early age, he was in his 20s.Apollo and Daphne.andBaldacchino.Although Bernini's prosperity continued well into his 60s, his later years were difficult. The death of his patron, Alexander VII, and the worsening social conditions in Rome took their toll on Bernini.

It is true that the citizens of Rome were not happy if the government was only striving to build luxurious buildings without helping the citizens who were struggling to make a living. It is not hard to understand why Innocent XI decided that he could not spend any more money on luxurious architecture because his purse was on the verge of financial ruin.

But for those of us living in later generations, the value of this wonderful St. Peter's Square is unquestionable.

It's a complicated thought considering the fact that this square was criticized and the social situation in Rome, but this is what learning about history and culture is all about. But this is what learning about history and culture is all about: "Oh, my God! That's wonderful!" (Incidentally, such architectural projects are not only for the sake of the industry, but also for the sake of the people. (Incidentally, these building projects were also public works that created jobs for Roman citizens who had no industry of their own. (Incidentally, these building projects were also public works to create jobs for the citizens of Rome, who had no industry of their own.)

Let me conclude this article by showing you some photos from my visit to St. Peter's Square.

In front of St. Peter's Square in the early morning. It was rainy and dimly lit, but it was a tasteful sight.

The piazza, which is very crowded during the day, was almost empty in the early morning. Entry to St. Peter's Basilica was smooth.

This is a photo taken at night. The view of the plaza from the facade side; I had heard that it rains a lot from the end of November to December, and that is exactly what happened.

The illuminated white colonnades and statues of saints were very beautiful.

If you visit Rome, you will surely visit St. Peter's Square. However, it also has different appearances in the morning, afternoon, and evening. If you can, you should stay near the Vatican to experience the Vatican at different times of the day. As you can see from the photos, even if it rains, it is still beautiful and atmospheric. No matter what time of day or what the weather is like, this is an overwhelming space. I hope you will experience Bernini's ultimate work.

be unbroken

*The following photos are my Bernini notes. I hope you will find them useful.

*The list of articles in the "Rome Travel Journal" can be found atCategory page hereindicates direction or goal (e.g. "to")

*Please visit this category page for recommended books to learn about Rome and Italy.
The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire, the Vatican, and Roman Catholicism."
The Italian Renaissance and the Revolution in Knowledge."

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