(b. 1444, Fermignano, d. 1514, Roma)

Interior view

Santa Maria del Popolo, Rome

Between 1505 and 1510, Bramante added a new extended choir behind the main altar to the to the Quattrocento church reconstructed between 1472 and 1477 on the orders of Pope Sixtus IV. It was commissioned from Bramante by Julius II to house the tombs of Cardinal Ascanio Sforza and Cardinal Girolamo Basso della Rovere (d 1507). The tombs, created by Andrea Sansovino, are set below innovative Serlian windows either side of a square space covered by a saucer dome, approached from the pre-existing crossing through a barrel-vaulted bay, with another barrel-vaulted bay and apse beyond. The second barrel vault has coffering modelled on the entrance into the Pantheon, and the lowest coffer on the southern side is left open to make a window, an arrangement sometimes found in ancient cryptoportici.

Apart from the saucer dome, frescoed by Bernardino Pinturicchio (c. 1510), the interior is remarkably stark, only articulated by plain pilaster-strips. It typifies the conception of true all’antica architecture that Bramante arrived at late in his career.

The photo shows the interior of the choir.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.