Donato Bramante

Donato Bramante

Overview
Donato Bramante was an Italian architect, who introduced the Early Renaissance style to Milan and the High Renaissance
High Renaissance
The expression High Renaissance, in art history, is a periodizing convention used to denote the apogee of the visual arts in the Italian Renaissance...

 style to Rome, where his most famous design was St. Peter's Basilica
St. Peter's Basilica
The Papal Basilica of Saint Peter , officially known in Italian as ' and commonly known as Saint Peter's Basilica, is a Late Renaissance church located within the Vatican City. Saint Peter's Basilica has the largest interior of any Christian church in the world...

.

Bramante was born in Monte Asdrualdo (now Fermignano
Fermignano
Fermignano is a comune in the Province of Pesaro e Urbino in the Italian region Marche, located about 70 km west of Ancona and about 35 km southwest of Pesaro.Renaissance architect Donato Bramante was born here.-History:...

), under name Donato di Pascuccio d'Antonio, near Urbino
Urbino
Urbino is a walled city in the Marche region of Italy, south-west of Pesaro, a World Heritage Site notable for a remarkable historical legacy of independent Renaissance culture, especially under the patronage of Federico da Montefeltro, duke of Urbino from 1444 to 1482...

: here, in 1467 Luciano Laurana
Luciano Laurana
Luciano Laurana was a Croatian or Italian architect and engineer from the historic Vrana settlement near the town of Zadar in Dalmatia, Croatia. After education by his father Martin in Vrana settlement, he worked mostly in Italy during the late 15th century...

 was adding to the Palazzo Ducale
Palazzo Ducale, Urbino
The Ducal Palace is a Renaissance building in the Italian city of Urbino in the Marche. One of the most important monuments in Italy, it is listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site.-History:...

 an arcaded courtyard and other features that seemed to have the true ring of a reborn antiquity to Federico da Montefeltro
Federico da Montefeltro
Federico da Montefeltro, also known as Federico III da Montefeltro , was one of the most successful condottieri of the Italian Renaissance, and lord of Urbino from 1444 until his death...

's ducal palace.

Bramante's architecture has eclipsed his painting skills: he knew the painters Melozzo da Forlì
Melozzo da Forlì
Melozzo da Forlì was an Italian Renaissance painter and architect. His fresco paintings are notable for the use of foreshortening. He was the most important member of the Forlì painting school.- Biography :...

 and Piero della Francesca
Piero della Francesca
Piero della Francesca was a painter of the Early Renaissance. As testified by Giorgio Vasari in his Lives of the Artists, to contemporaries he was also known as a mathematician and geometer. Nowadays Piero della Francesca is chiefly appreciated for his art. His painting was characterized by its...

 well, who were interested in the rules of perspective
Perspective (graphical)
Perspective in the graphic arts, such as drawing, is an approximate representation, on a flat surface , of an image as it is seen by the eye...

 and illusionistic features in Mantegna
Andrea Mantegna
Andrea Mantegna was an Italian painter, a student of Roman archeology, and son in law of Jacopo Bellini. Like other artists of the time, Mantegna experimented with perspective, e.g., by lowering the horizon in order to create a sense of greater monumentality...

's painting.
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Encyclopedia
Donato Bramante was an Italian architect, who introduced the Early Renaissance style to Milan and the High Renaissance
High Renaissance
The expression High Renaissance, in art history, is a periodizing convention used to denote the apogee of the visual arts in the Italian Renaissance...

 style to Rome, where his most famous design was St. Peter's Basilica
St. Peter's Basilica
The Papal Basilica of Saint Peter , officially known in Italian as ' and commonly known as Saint Peter's Basilica, is a Late Renaissance church located within the Vatican City. Saint Peter's Basilica has the largest interior of any Christian church in the world...

.

Urbino and Milan


Bramante was born in Monte Asdrualdo (now Fermignano
Fermignano
Fermignano is a comune in the Province of Pesaro e Urbino in the Italian region Marche, located about 70 km west of Ancona and about 35 km southwest of Pesaro.Renaissance architect Donato Bramante was born here.-History:...

), under name Donato di Pascuccio d'Antonio, near Urbino
Urbino
Urbino is a walled city in the Marche region of Italy, south-west of Pesaro, a World Heritage Site notable for a remarkable historical legacy of independent Renaissance culture, especially under the patronage of Federico da Montefeltro, duke of Urbino from 1444 to 1482...

: here, in 1467 Luciano Laurana
Luciano Laurana
Luciano Laurana was a Croatian or Italian architect and engineer from the historic Vrana settlement near the town of Zadar in Dalmatia, Croatia. After education by his father Martin in Vrana settlement, he worked mostly in Italy during the late 15th century...

 was adding to the Palazzo Ducale
Palazzo Ducale, Urbino
The Ducal Palace is a Renaissance building in the Italian city of Urbino in the Marche. One of the most important monuments in Italy, it is listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site.-History:...

 an arcaded courtyard and other features that seemed to have the true ring of a reborn antiquity to Federico da Montefeltro
Federico da Montefeltro
Federico da Montefeltro, also known as Federico III da Montefeltro , was one of the most successful condottieri of the Italian Renaissance, and lord of Urbino from 1444 until his death...

's ducal palace.

Bramante's architecture has eclipsed his painting skills: he knew the painters Melozzo da Forlì
Melozzo da Forlì
Melozzo da Forlì was an Italian Renaissance painter and architect. His fresco paintings are notable for the use of foreshortening. He was the most important member of the Forlì painting school.- Biography :...

 and Piero della Francesca
Piero della Francesca
Piero della Francesca was a painter of the Early Renaissance. As testified by Giorgio Vasari in his Lives of the Artists, to contemporaries he was also known as a mathematician and geometer. Nowadays Piero della Francesca is chiefly appreciated for his art. His painting was characterized by its...

 well, who were interested in the rules of perspective
Perspective (graphical)
Perspective in the graphic arts, such as drawing, is an approximate representation, on a flat surface , of an image as it is seen by the eye...

 and illusionistic features in Mantegna
Andrea Mantegna
Andrea Mantegna was an Italian painter, a student of Roman archeology, and son in law of Jacopo Bellini. Like other artists of the time, Mantegna experimented with perspective, e.g., by lowering the horizon in order to create a sense of greater monumentality...

's painting. Around 1474, Bramante moved to Milan
Milan
Milan is the second-largest city in Italy and the capital city of the region of Lombardy and of the province of Milan. The city proper has a population of about 1.3 million, while its urban area, roughly coinciding with its administrative province and the bordering Province of Monza and Brianza ,...

, a city with a deep Gothic architectural tradition, and built several churches in the new Antique style. The Duke, Ludovico Sforza
Ludovico Sforza
Ludovico Sforza , was Duke of Milan from 1489 until his death. A member of the Sforza family, he was the fourth son of Francesco Sforza. He was famed as a patron of Leonardo da Vinci and other artists, and presided over the final and most productive stage of the Milanese Renaissance...

, made him virtually his court architect, beginning in 1476, with commissions that culminated in the famous trompe-l'oeil choir of the church of Santa Maria presso San Satiro
Santa Maria presso San Satiro
Santa Maria presso San Satiro is a church of Milan.The church lies on the site of a primitive worship place erected by the archbishop Anspertus in 879, dedicated to Saint Satyrus, confessor and brother of Saints Ambrose and Marcellina. The current church was instead built from 1472 to 1482 under...

 (1482–1486). Space was limited, and Bramante made a theatrical apse
Apse
In architecture, the apse is a semicircular recess covered with a hemispherical vault or semi-dome...

 in bas-relief, combining the painterly arts of perspective with Roman details. There is an octagonal sacristy, surmounted by a dome
Dome
A dome is a structural element of architecture that resembles the hollow upper half of a sphere. Dome structures made of various materials have a long architectural lineage extending into prehistory....

.

In Milan, Bramante also built the tribune of Santa Maria delle Grazie
Santa Maria delle Grazie (Milan)
Santa Maria delle Grazie is a church and Dominican convent in Milan, northern Italy, included in the UNESCO World Heritage sites list...

 (1492–99); other early works include the cloister
Cloister
A cloister is a rectangular open space surrounded by covered walks or open galleries, with open arcades on the inner side, running along the walls of buildings and forming a quadrangle or garth...

s of Sant'Ambrogio, Milan
Milan
Milan is the second-largest city in Italy and the capital city of the region of Lombardy and of the province of Milan. The city proper has a population of about 1.3 million, while its urban area, roughly coinciding with its administrative province and the bordering Province of Monza and Brianza ,...

 (1497–1498), and some other constructions in Pavia
Pavia
Pavia , the ancient Ticinum, is a town and comune of south-western Lombardy, northern Italy, 35 km south of Milan on the lower Ticino river near its confluence with the Po. It is the capital of the province of Pavia. It has a population of c. 71,000...

 and possibly Legnano
Legnano
Legnano is an Italian town and comune with 59.147 inhabitants in the province of Milan, about from Milan.It's crossed by the river Olona, and it's the 13th town for inhabitants in Lombardy....

. However, in 1499, with his Sforza patron driven from Milan by an invading French army, Bramante made his way to Rome, where he was already known to the powerful Cardinal Riario
Riario
Riario was an Italian noble family from Genoa. Its member included three famous nephews of Francesco della Rovere, who reigned as Pope Sixtus IV.-Members:*Girolamo Riario , Lord of Imola and Forlì...

.

Career in Rome


In Rome, he was soon recognized in Cardinal Della Rovere, shortly to become Pope Julius II
Pope Julius II
Pope Julius II , nicknamed "The Fearsome Pope" and "The Warrior Pope" , born Giuliano della Rovere, was Pope from 1503 to 1513...

. For Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile or possibly Julius II, Bramante designed one of the most harmonious buildings of the Renaissance
Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

: the Tempietto (1510) of San Pietro in Montorio
San Pietro in Montorio
San Pietro in Montorio is a church in Rome, Italy, which includes in its courtyard The Tempietto built by Donato Bramante.-History:...

 on the Janiculum
Janiculum
The Janiculum is a hill in western Rome, Italy. Although the second-tallest hill in the contemporary city of Rome, the Janiculum does not figure among the proverbial Seven Hills of Rome, being west of the Tiber and outside the boundaries of the ancient city.-Sights:The Janiculum is one of the...

. Despite its small scale, the construction has all the rigorous proportions and symmetry of Classical structures, surrounded by slender Doric columns, surmounted by a dome. According to a later engraving by Sebastiano Serlio
Sebastiano Serlio
Sebastiano Serlio was an Italian Mannerist architect, who was part of the Italian team building the Palace of Fontainebleau...

, Bramante planned to set it within a colonnaded courtyard. In November 1503, Julius engaged Bramante for the construction of the grandest European architectural commission of the 16th century, the complete rebuilding of St Peter's Basilica. The cornerstone of the first of the great piers of the crossing
Crossing (architecture)
A crossing, in ecclesiastical architecture, is the junction of the four arms of a cruciform church.In a typically oriented church , the crossing gives access to the nave on the west, the transept arms on the north and south, and the choir on the east.The crossing is sometimes surmounted by a tower...

 was laid with ceremony on 17 April 1506. Very few drawings by Bramante survive, though some by his assistants do, demonstrating the extent of the team which had been assembled. Bramante's vision for St Peter's, a centralized Greek cross plan that symbolized sublime perfection for him and his generation (compare Santa Maria della Consolazione, Todi, influenced by Bramante's work) was fundamentally altered by the extension of the nave
Nave
In Romanesque and Gothic Christian abbey, cathedral basilica and church architecture, the nave is the central approach to the high altar, the main body of the church. "Nave" was probably suggested by the keel shape of its vaulting...

 after his death in 1514. Bramante's plan envisaged four great chapels filling the corner spaces between the equal transept
Transept
For the periodical go to The Transept.A transept is a transverse section, of any building, which lies across the main body of the building. In Christian churches, a transept is an area set crosswise to the nave in a cruciform building in Romanesque and Gothic Christian church architecture...

s, each one capped with a smaller dome surrounding the great dome over the crossing. So Bramante's original plan was very much more Romano-Byzantine in its forms than the basilica that was actually built. (See St Peter's Basilica for further details.)
Bramante also worked on several other commissions. Among his earliest works in Rome, before the Basilica's construction was under way, is the cloister (1500–1504) of Santa Maria della Pace
Santa Maria della Pace
Santa Maria della Pace is a church in Rome, central Italy, not far from Piazza Navona.The current building was built on the foundations of the pre-existing church of Sant'Andrea de Aquarizariis in 1482, commissioned by Pope Sixtus IV. The church was rededicated to the Virgin Mary to remember a...

 near Piazza Navona
Piazza Navona
Piazza Navona is a city square in Rome, Italy. It is built on the site of the Stadium of Domitian, built in 1st century AD, and follows the form of the open space of the stadium. The ancient Romans came there to watch the agones , and hence it was known as 'Circus Agonalis'...

. The handsome proportions give an air of great simplicity.

Main architectural works

  • Santa Maria presso San Satiro
    Santa Maria presso San Satiro
    Santa Maria presso San Satiro is a church of Milan.The church lies on the site of a primitive worship place erected by the archbishop Anspertus in 879, dedicated to Saint Satyrus, confessor and brother of Saints Ambrose and Marcellina. The current church was instead built from 1472 to 1482 under...

    , Milan, ca. 1482–1486
  • Santa Maria delle Grazie
    Santa Maria delle Grazie (Milan)
    Santa Maria delle Grazie is a church and Dominican convent in Milan, northern Italy, included in the UNESCO World Heritage sites list...

     (cloister and apse); Milan, 1492–1498
  • Palazzo Caprini
    Palazzo Caprini
    Palazzo Caprini was a Renaissance palazzo in Rome, Italy, in the Borgo rione between Piazza Scossacavalli and via Alessandrina. It was designed by Donato Bramante around 1510, or a few years before....

     (also known as Raphael's House), Rome, started around 1510 (demolished in the 17t century)
  • San Pietro in Montorio
    San Pietro in Montorio
    San Pietro in Montorio is a church in Rome, Italy, which includes in its courtyard The Tempietto built by Donato Bramante.-History:...

     (also called the Tempietto); Rome, 1502
  • Santa Maria della Pace
    Santa Maria della Pace
    Santa Maria della Pace is a church in Rome, central Italy, not far from Piazza Navona.The current building was built on the foundations of the pre-existing church of Sant'Andrea de Aquarizariis in 1482, commissioned by Pope Sixtus IV. The church was rededicated to the Virgin Mary to remember a...

     (cloister); Rome, 1504
  • St. Peter's Basilica
    St. Peter's Basilica
    The Papal Basilica of Saint Peter , officially known in Italian as ' and commonly known as Saint Peter's Basilica, is a Late Renaissance church located within the Vatican City. Saint Peter's Basilica has the largest interior of any Christian church in the world...

    , Rome, design 1503, ground breaking, 1506
  • Cortile del Belvedere
    Cortile del Belvedere
    The Cortile del Belvedere, the Belvedere courtyard, designed by Donato Bramante from 1506 onwards, was a major architectural work of the High Renaissance at the Vatican Palace in Rome; its concept and details reverberating in courtyard design, formalized piazzas and garden plans throughout Western...

    , Vatican City, Rome, 1506.

External links