(b. 1484, Verona, d. 1559, Verona)

Interior view

c. 1527
Cappella Pellegrini, San Bernardino, Verona

One of Sanmicheli's most sophisticated and admired buildings is the Pellegrini Chapel, attached to the church of San Bernardino in Verona. Approached from a short vestibule, the tall chapel is of circular plan, with a dome concealed externally by a drum in the North Italian manner. The interior was inspired by that of the Pantheon, having a radial plan with large recesses on the main axes and tabernacled niches between them. The upper storey has a balcony, perhaps intended for a choir; with its trabeated three-bay windows, it is much indebted to Bramante's design for the dome of St Peter's, Rome.

The wall design is of considerable intricacy, especially in the lower storey, where the main order of Corinthian half columns is coupled with a smaller pilaster order that extends into the recesses and connects with the niche tabernacles. Further complexities anticipate the Palazzo Bevilacqua, with straight-fluted half columns for the entrance and end recesses, and spirally-fluted half columns at the sides, while triangular pediments over the main recesses alternate with segmental pediments for the tabernacles. Richly embellished with exquisite carving, the execution, as Vasari observed, appears to defy the immense technical difficulty of adapting so complex a design to a curving wall surface and realizing it in stonework.

View the ground plan and section of the Cappella Pellegrini.