Bramante’s Tempietto, door from inside

Donato Bramante, Tempietto, c. 1502, San Pietro in Montorio, Rome. The “Tempietto” or little temple is a martyia (a building that commemorates a martyrdom) that marks the traditional site of Saint Peter’s crucifixion. It is considered by many architectural historians to be the perfect embodiment of High Renaissance.

Donato Bramante, Tempietto (Church of San Pietro, Montorio, Rome, Italy), 1502-10; dome and lantern restored in 17th century

From Art History, Volume II by M. Stokstad:
Work came slowly for Bramante in Rome and he was nearing sixty when the Spanish rulers Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand commissioned a small shrine over the spot in Rome where the apostle Peter was believed to have been crucified. Known as the Tempietto (Little Temple), Bramante combined his interpretation with the principles of Vitruvius and the fifteenth-century architect, Leon Battista Alberti: the stepped base, Doric columns, frieze (Vitruvius advised the the Doric order be used for temples to gods of forceful character) and balustrade. The centralized plan and tall drum (circular wall supporting the dome) recall earth Christain shrines. Especially noted is the sculptural effect of the exterior, with deep niches, light contrasts and Dorice frieze of papal emblems. 


On this day in 1500, Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan, was captured by Swiss troops and handed over to French forces at Novara. Prior to his flight from Milan in August 1499, Sforza had been a great patron of the arts, bringing Donato Bramante and Leonardo da Vinci to his court and commissioning numerous projects from them and others including the completion of the Dominican friary of Santa Maria delle Grazie with a new choir for his family’s tombs and a mural showing the Last Supper for its refectory.

Reference: E. S. Welch, et al. “Sforza.” Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online. Oxford University Press.<>

Ludovico Sforza, Pala Sforzesca, 1494 (detail)

Giovanni Ambrogio de Predis, Portrait of Ludovico Sforza

Leonardo da Vinci, Lady with an Ermine (Ceclia Gallerani), 1489-90,   Czartoryski Museum, Kraków

Lazzaretto Hospital, Milan, 1488-1513 (destroyed)

Giovanni Antonio Amadeo, Facade, Certosa, Pavia, after 1492

Donato Bramante, Choir of Santa Maria delle Grazie, after 1492

Leonardo da Vinci, Last Supper, 1495-98, Santa Maria delle Grazie, Milan