St. Peter's Basilica

St. Peter's Basilica is characterized by its  to tower above the building  Michelangelo was the chief from 1546 to 1564, but the artist never saw it. See more pictures of works by Michelangelo.

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.

 Michelangelo Image Gallery

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.

First, take a look at the beautiful façade of this impressive building, St. Peter's Basilica.

To learn more about Michelangelo, art history, and other famous artists, see: