The Cortile del Belvedere (Belvedere Courtyard or Belvedere Court) was a major architectural work of the High Renaissance at the Vatican Palace in Rome. Designed by Donato Bramante from 1505 onward, its concept and details reverberated in courtyard design, formalized piazzas and garden plans throughout Western Europe for centuries.[ citation needed ] Conceived as a single enclosed space, the long Belvedere court connected the Vatican Palace with the Villa Belvedere in a series of terraces connected by stairs, and was contained on its sides by narrow wings.
Bramante did not see the work completed, and before the end of the sixteenth century it had been irretrievably altered by a building across the court, dividing it into two separate courtyards.
Innocent VIII began construction of the Villa Belvedere on the high ground overlooking old St Peter's Basilica, in 1484. Here, where the breezes could tame the Roman summer, he had the Florentine architect Antonio Pollaiuolo, design and complete by 1487 a little summerhouse, which also had views to the east of central Rome and north to the pastures beyond the Castel Sant'Angelo (the Prati di Castello). This villa suburbana was the first pleasure house to be built in Rome since Antiquity.
When Pope Julius II came to the throne in 1503, he moved his growing collection of Roman sculpture here, to an enclosed courtyard within the Villa Belvedere itself. Soon after its discovery, Julius purchased the ancient sculpture of Laocoön and His Sons and brought it here by 1506. A short time later, the statue of Apollo became part of the collection, henceforth to be known as the Apollo Belvedere , as did the heroic male torso known as the Belvedere Torso.
Julius commissioned Bramante to link the Vatican Palace with the Villa Belvedere. Bramante's design is commemorated in a fresco at the Castel Sant'Angelo; he regularized the slope as a set of terraces, linked by rigorously symmetrical stairs on the central longitudinal axis, to create a sequence of formal spaces that was unparalleled in Europe, both in its scale and in its architectural unity.[ citation needed ]
A series of six narrow terraces at the base was traversed by a monumental central stair leading to the wide middle terrace.The divided stair to the uppermost terrace, with flights running on either side against the retaining wall to a landing and returning towards the center, was another innovation by Bramante. His long corridor-like wings that enclose the Cortile now house the Vatican Museums collections. One of the wings accommodated the Vatican Library. The wings have three storeys in the lower court and end in a single one enclosing the uppermost terrace.
The whole visual scenography culminated in the semicircular exedra at the Villa Belvedere end of the court. This was set into a screening wall devised by Bramante to disguise the fact the villa facade was not parallel to the facing Vatican Palace facade at the other end. The entire perpectivised ensemble was designed to be best seen from Raphael's Stanze in the papal apartments of the palace.
Shortly after, the court was home to the papal menagerie. It was on the lower part of the courtyard that Pope Leo X would parade his prized elephant Hanno for adoring crowds to see. Because of the pachyderm's glorious history he was buried in the Cortile del Belvedere.
The court was incomplete when Bramante died in 1514. It was finished by Pirro Ligorio for Pius IV in 1562–65. To the great open-headed exedra at the end of the uppermost terrace, Ligorio added a third story, enclosing the central space with a vast half-dome to form the largest niche that had been erected since antiquity — the nicchione ("great niche") visible today from several elevated outlooks around Rome (illustration). He completed his structure with an uppermost loggia that repeated the hemicycle of the niche and took its cue from scholarly reconstructions of the ancient sanctuary dedicated to Fortuna Primigenia at Praeneste, south of Rome.
The lowest, and largest level of the court was not planted. It was cobbled and paved with a saltire of stones laid corner to corner and had semi-permanent bleachers set against the Vatican walls to serve for outdoor entertainments, pageants and carousels such as the festive early-17th-century joust depicted in a painting in Museo di Roma, Palazzo Braschi. The upper two levels were laid out with of patterned parterres that the Italians referred to as compartimenti, set in wide graveled walkways. The four sections (now grassed) of the upper courtyard have the same pattern that appears in 16th-century engravings.
Sixtus V spoiled the unity of the Cortile (1585–90) by erecting a wing of the Vatican Library, which occupies the former middle terrace and bisects the space. James Ackerman has suggested that the move was a conscious one, designed to screen the secular, even pagan nature of the Cortile and the collection of sculptures that Pope Adrian VI had referred to as "idols". Today the lowest terrace is still called the Cortile del Belvedere, but the separated upper terrace is called the Cortile della Pigna after the Pigna , a large bronze pinecone, mounted in the niccione, likely to have been the finial of Hadrian's tomb or, as supposed in the Middle Ages, to mark the turning point for chariots in the hippodrome where many Christians were martyred.
In 1990, a sculpture of two concentric spheres by Arnaldo Pomodoro was placed in the middle of the upper courtyard.
Donato Bramante, born as Donato di Pascuccio d'Antonio and also known as Bramante Lazzari, was an Italian architect. He introduced Renaissance architecture to Milan and the High Renaissance style to Rome, where his plan for St. Peter's Basilica formed the basis of design executed by Michelangelo. His Tempietto marked the beginning of the High Renaissance in Rome (1502) when Pope Julius II appointed him to build a sanctuary over the spot where Peter was allegedly crucified.
In gardening, a terrace is an element where a raised flat paved or gravelled section overlooks a prospect. A raised terrace keeps a house dry and provides a transition between the hardscape and the softscape.
The Villa d'Este is a 16th-century villa in Tivoli, near Rome, famous for its terraced hillside Italian Renaissance garden and especially for its profusion of fountains. It is now an Italian state museum, and is listed as a UNESCO world heritage site.
An exedra is a semicircular architectural recess, often crowned by a semi-dome, which is sometimes set into a building's façade or is free-standing. The original Greek sense was applied to a room that opened onto a stoa, ringed with curved high-backed stone benches, a suitable place for conversation. An exedra may also be expressed by a curved break in a colonnade, perhaps with a semicircular seat.
A belvedere or belvidere is an architectural structure sited to take advantage of a fine or scenic view. While a belvedere may be built in the upper part of a building the actual structure can be of any form, whether a turret, a cupola, or an open gallery. Or it may be a separate pavilion in a garden, or the term may be used for a paved terrace with a good viewpoint, but no actual building.
The Villa Farnese, also known as Villa Caprarola, is a mansion in the town of Caprarola in the province of Viterbo, Northern Lazio, Italy, approximately 50 kilometres north-west of Rome. This villa should not be confused with the Palazzo Farnese and the Villa Farnesina, both in Rome. A property of the Republic of Italy, Villa Farnese is run by the Polo Museale del Lazio.
Antonio da Sangallo the Younger, also known as Antonio da San Gallo, was an Italian architect active during the Renaissance, mainly in Rome and the Papal States.
Pirro Ligorio was an Italian architect, painter, antiquarian, and garden designer during the Renaissance period. He worked as the Vatican's Papal Architect under Popes Paul IV and Pius IV, designed the fountains at Villa d’Este at Tivoli for Cardinal Ippolito II d’Este, and served as the Ducal Antiquary in Ferrara. Ligorio emphasized and showed a deep passion for classical Roman antiquity.
The Apollo Belvedere is a celebrated marble sculpture from Classical Antiquity.
Pigna is the name of rione IX of Rome, located in Municipio I of the city. The name means "pine cone" in Italian, and the symbol for the rione is the colossal bronze pine cone, the Pigna.
The Villa Pigneto or Sacchetti, or also the Casino al Pigneto del Marchese Sacchetti was a villa in Rome, Italy, designed by the Baroque artist Pietro da Cortona. A second, plainer, Villa Sacchetti, now called Villa Chigi, is found at Castelfusano near Ostia and also was decorated by Cortona.
The Casina Pio IV is a patrician villa in Vatican City which is now home to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of St. Thomas Aquinas. The predecessor of the present complex structure was begun in the spring of 1558 by Pope Paul IV in the Vatican Gardens, west of the Cortile del Belvedere. Paul IV commissioned the initial project of the 'Casina del Boschetto', as it was originally called, from an unknown architect; the first mention of the single-storey building can be found on 30 April 1558, and a notice of the following 6 May, says that the Pope spent "two thirds of his time at the Belvedere, where he has begun to build a fountain in the woods".
Pope Julius II, commissioned a series of highly influential art and architecture projects in the Vatican. The painting of the Sistine Chapel ceiling by Michelangelo and of various rooms by Raphael in the Apostolic Palace are considered among the masterworks that mark the High Renaissance in Rome. His decision to rebuild St Peter's led to the construction of the massive basilica we see now.
Galasso Alghisi (1523–1573) was an Italian architect and author of the Renaissance period.
The Gardens of Vatican City, also informally known as the Vatican Gardens in Vatican City, are private urban gardens and parks which cover more than half of the country, located in the west of the territory and owned by the Pope. There are some buildings, such as Radio Vatican and the Governor's Palace, within the gardens.
The Italian Renaissance garden was a new style of garden which emerged in the late 15th century at villas in Rome and Florence, inspired by classical ideals of order and beauty, and intended for the pleasure of the view of the garden and the landscape beyond, for contemplation, and for the enjoyment of the sights, sounds and smells of the garden itself.
The Fontana della Pigna or simply Pigna is a former Roman fountain which now decorates a vast niche in the wall of the Vatican facing the Cortile della Pigna, located in Vatican City, in Rome, Italy.
The giardino all'italiana or Italian garden is stylistically based on symmetry, axial geometry and on the principle of imposing order over nature. It influenced the history of gardening, especially French gardens and English gardens.
The Sleeping Ariadne, housed in the Vatican Museums in Vatican City, is a Roman Hadrianic copy of a Hellenistic sculpture of the Pergamene school of the 2nd century BCE, and is one of the most renowned sculptures of Antiquity. The reclining figure in a chiton bound under her breasts half lies, half sits, her extended legs crossed at the calves, her head pillowed on her left arm, her right thrown over her head. Other Roman copies of this model exist: one, the "Wilton House Ariadne", is substantially unrestored, while another, the "Medici Ariadne" found in Rome, has been "seriously reworked in modern times", according to Brunilde Sismondo Ridgway. Two surviving statuettes attest to a Roman trade in reductions of this familiar figure. A variant Sleeping Ariadne is in the Prado Museum, Madrid. A later Roman variant found in the Villa Borghese gardens, Rome, is at the Louvre Museum.
The Baroque garden was a style of garden based upon symmetry and the principle of imposing order on nature. The style originated in the late-16th century in Italy, in the gardens of the Vatican and the Villa Borghese gardens in Rome and in the gardens of the Villa d'Este in Tivoli, and then spread to France, where it became known as the jardin à la française or French formal garden. The grandest example is found in the Gardens of Versailles designed during the 17th century by the landscape architect André Le Nôtre for Louis XIV. In the 18th century, in imitation of Versailles, very ornate Baroque gardens were built in other parts of Europe, including Germany, Austria, Spain, and in Saint-Petersburg, Russia. In the mid-18th century the style was replaced by the more less-geometric and more natural English landscape garden.
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