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Architectural model - The Tempietto

The Tempietto

  • Object:

    Architectural model

  • Place of origin:

    Italy (probably, made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1830-ca.1900 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Carved walnut and pearwood

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Mrs Denis Roberts

  • Museum number:

    A.5:1 to 3-1987

  • Gallery location:

    Architecture, Room 128, case 4 []

More than any other architect, Donato Bramante (1444-1514) was responsible for re-establishing the use of classical proportion and the 'grammar' of ancient Roman building. The small church, called Tempietto, of San Pietro in Montorio, Rome, was designed by him in 1502 or later. The first building of the High Renaissance, it came closer to the spirit of antiquity than any other building. As such it has become an architectural icon, noted for its rigorous proportion and symmetry, characteristics of the Renaissance, but seen in particularly harmonious form in the Tempietto.

It was commissioned in 1502 by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain and marks the spot on the Janiculum Hill on the west side of Rome where St Peter was supposedly martyred. Bramante worked on it over a period of years and is thought to have completed it by 1512.

This model, made of walnut and pearwood, is thought to be a nineteenth-century representation of the Tempietto. Architectural models such as this one were usually made as teaching aids. They recorded detailed information of the buildings of the past and were design aids for building projects of the future. This particular model differs in detail from Bramante's original design and may have been made for a building paying homage to the famous original.

Physical description

This model is a reduced version of the Tempietto in San Pietro in Montorio, Rome. Seated on a hexagonal base. A bilithon and three steps lead up to the podium. The Doric order columns are the one feature most similar in style and mensural correspondence to the original.

Place of Origin

Italy (probably, made)

Date

ca. 1830-ca.1900 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Carved walnut and pearwood

Dimensions

Height: 105.2 cm, Width: 78.2 cm

Object history note

Commissioned in 1502 by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain, the Tempietto marks the spot on the Janiculum Hill in Rome where St Peter was supposedly martyred. It was built by the architect Donato Bramante (1444-1514) and was probably completed by 1512, but without the planned surrounding circular courtyard. Just as the antique writer on architecture, Vitruvius, advised the use of the Doric Order for temples dedicated to important male gods, so Bramante used the Order for the chief saint of the Christian church. The building became an important example of the use of Doric from the High Renaissance, and was much illustrated and discussed in books of architectural theory. It has also inspired many circular buildings throughout Europe and America. Wooden models such as these have often been used as teaching aids or as design aids for building projects. It differs in crucial respects from Bramante's building but is evidence of the lasting debate about the correct use of Doric that the Tempietto set in motion.

Given by Mrs. Denis Roberts, in memory of M. Denis Roberts, in 1987.

Descriptive line

Architectural model, carved walnut and pearwood, based on Bramante's Tempietto of S. Pietro in Montorio, Rome, probably Italy, 19th century

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Leslie, Fiona. 'Inside Outside: Changing Attitudes towards Architectural Models in the Museum at South Kensington'. In: Architectural History, 47, 2004, pp. 159-200
Howard, Deborah, 'Bramante's Tempietto : spanish royal patronage in Rome', in: Apollo, CXXXVI, October, 1992, pp. 211-217

Labels and date

'Commissioned in 1502 by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain, the Tempietto marks the spot on the Janiculum Hill in Rome where St. Peter was supposedly martyred. It was built by the architect Donato Bramante (1444-1514) and was probably completed in 1512. Just as the antique writer on architecture, Vitruvius, advised the use of the Doric Order for temples dedicated to important male gods, so Bramante used the Order for the chief saint of the Christian church. The building became an important example of the use of Doric, and was much illustrated and discussed in books of architectural theory. Wooden models such as this have often been used as teaching or design aids. It differs in important ways from Bramante's building but is evidence of the long discussion about the correct use of Doric that the Tempietto set in motion.' [1992]

Materials

Pearwood; Walnut

Techniques

Carved

Subjects depicted

Colonnades; Buildings; Domes; Temples; Architecture; Martyria

Categories

Sculpture; Architecture; Religion

Collection

Sculpture Collection

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