In 1546, Michelangelo was appointed chief architect for the reconstruction of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, Italy. Though aging and in poor health, he accepted the appointment with the grace and gratitude of a man chosen by God.
During the seventeen years that Michelangelo held the position of chief architect of St. Peter's Basilica, he restored and improved upon Bramante's original elegant design -- which had been severely altered by Antonio da Sangallo. After ridding the site of thieves and parasites, Michelangelo ensured the timely and cost-effective completion of the project. But Michelangelo's greatest achievement for St. Peter's Basilica was the majestic and exquisitely crafted dome that now dominates Rome's skyline.
Despite his repeated protests to the contrary, Michelangelo proved himself to be a pioneer of outstanding ability in architecture. He far surpassed previous masters of architecture with his innovative designs for buildings both civic and religious.
The dome of St. Peter's, the crown jewel of Rome's skyline, is also Michelangelo's crowning architectural achievement. The artist took on the ambitious commission late in his life, in 1546. He worked diligently and without pay to complete the basilica to serve his Creator and to secure the salvation of his soul.
The following pages of this article show some of the features of this great architectural work in detail.
- St. Peter's Basilica Façade by Michelangelo: Read more about the structure and project that Michelangelo took over when he was appointed chief architect of St. Peter's Basilica.
- St. Peter's Basilica Exterior by Michelangelo: See how the exterior of St. Peter's Basilica resembles that of another great architectural work by Michelangelo.
- St. Peter's Basilica Interior Nave by Michelangelo: Michelangelo took great care that the inside of the basilica matched the outside in greatness. See how on this page.
- St. Peter's Basilica Model of Dome by Michelangelo: To ensure accuracy of execution, Michelangelo built a wooden model of the dome of St. Peter's Basilica. Read more about it on this page.
- St. Peter's Basilica Dome by Michelangelo: Michelangelo never saw the dome completed -- see and read more about it here.
First, take a look at the beautiful façade of this impressive building, St. Peter's Basilica.