St. Peter’s Basilica
The Papal Basilica of St. Peter is an Italian Renaissance church in Vatican City, the papal enclave within the city of Rome. St. Peter’s is the most renowned work of Renaissance architecture and the largest church in the world. Catholic tradition holds that the Basilica is the burial site of Saint Peter, a leading Apostle of Jesus and also the first Bishop of Rome. Saint Peter’s tomb is supposedly directly below the high altar of the Basilica.
St. Peter’s Basilica stands on the site, which has been a church location since the time of the Roman emperor Constantine the Great. Construction of the present basilica began on in 1506 and was completed in 1626. St. Peter’s has many historical associations, with numerous artists, most notably Michelangelo. As a work of architecture, it is regarded as the most magnificent building of its age. It is also home to many of Masterpieces of Art, and that will be our focus.
A Tour of St. Peter’s Basilica
Highlights of St. Peter’s Basilica
- Pietà by Michelangelo
- Pietà by Michelangelo depicts the body of Jesus on the lap of his mother Mary after the Crucifixion. The theme is of Northern European origin, and Michelangelo’s interpretation of the Pietà was unprecedented in Italian sculpture as it balanced the Renaissance ideals of classical beauty together with extraordinary naturalism. Christ’s face does not reveal signs of his suffering. Michelangelo did not want his version of the Pietà to represent death, but rather to show the serene faces and relationship of Son and Mother. It is the only piece Michelangelo ever signed.
- Saint Longinus holding the spear that pierced the side of Jesus, by Bernini
- The Statue of Saint Longinus by Bernini shows the saint holding the spear that pierced the side of Jesus is one of these four statues. The sculptor, Bernini, has depicted a dramatic narrative showing Longinus’ conversion. Bernini’s skill in manipulating marble ensured that he became a worthy successor of Michelangelo, far outshining other sculptors of his generation.
- Saint Andrew with the St. Andrew’s Cross, by Francois Duquesnoy
- Saint Andrew by Francois Duquesnoy depicts a venerated relic, which at the time was the property of the Pope and St. Peters. The statue of Andrew was created to honor the relic of the apostle’s skull.
- Saint Veronica holding her veil with the image of Jesus’ face, by Francesco Mochi
- Saint Veronica by Francesco Mochi depicted the frantic Saint Veronica displaying the Veil of Veronica and was created to honor the relic of the Veil of Veronica.
- Saint Helena holding the True Cross and the Holy Nails, by Andrea Bolgi
- Saint Helena carrying the True Cross and the Holy Nails was created to honor the relics of the True Cross and the Holy Nails.
Explore Rome’s Museums and Historical Sites
- The Vatican Museums
- The Vatican Museums are a collection of museums located in Vatican City, Rome, Italy. The Vatican Museums showcases historical and artistic works from the vast collection of works collected by many Popes of the Catholic Church over many centuries. The Vatican Museums’ collections are over 70,000 works, of which less than one-third are displayed at any point in time. There are 54 galleries in the museum, with one of the key attractions being the Sistine Chapel.
- Capitoline Museums
- The Capitoline Museums (Musei Capitolini) is made up of a group of art and archaeological museums in Piazza del Campidoglio, on top of the Capitoline Hill in Rome. The Capitoline Museums are composed of three main buildings surrounding the Piazza and interlinked by an underground gallery.
- St. Peter’s Basilica
- The Papal Basilica of St. Peter is an Italian Renaissance church in Vatican City, the papal enclave within the city of Rome. St. Peter’s is the most renowned work of Renaissance architecture and the largest church in the world. Catholic tradition holds that the Basilica is the burial site of Saint Peter, a leading Apostle of Jesus and the first Bishop of Rome. Saint Peter’s tomb is supposedly directly below the high altar of the Basilica.
- National Roman Museum
- The National Roman Museum, in Italian it is called Museo Nazionale Romano, is a collection of museums in separate buildings throughout the city of Rome, Italy. The museums exhibit the pre-history and early history of Rome, with a focus on archaeological findings from the period of Ancient Rome.
- Galleria Borghese
- The Galleria Borghese is an art gallery in Rome, housed in the former Villa Borghese Pinciana. The Galleria Borghese houses the Borghese collection of paintings, sculpture, and antiquities, begun by Cardinal Scipione Borghese, the nephew of Pope Paul V (reign 1605–1621). The Villa was originally designed and used as a country villa at the edge of Rome.
St. Peter’s Basilica
- Name: St. Peter’s Basilica
- Italian: Basilica Papale di San Pietro in Vaticano
- Latin: Basilica Sancti Petri
- Location: Vatican City
- Country: Holy See
- Denomination: Roman Catholic
- Consecrated: 1626
A Tour of Rome’s Museums
“Patience is the companion of wisdom.”
– Augustine of Hippo
Photo Credit: By Islandoftrees (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons