Bramante, Donato (1444-1514)

"Bramante, Donato (1444-1514)" submitted by RomeTour Editorial Team and last updated on Wednesday 11th January 2012

Donato di Pascuccio di Antonio named Bramante, Italian architect and painter, was born in Monte Asdruvaldo, Fermignano, Pesaro in 1444 and died in Rome in 1514. His first works are documented in Lombardia (Bergamo), where in 1477 he frescoed the figures of Philisophers and architectonic perspectives on the facade of the Palazzo del Podesta'; and in Milan, where since 1478, he conducted works of the reconstruction of the church Santa Maria presso San Satiro (see on the right) in 1490, where could be seen the influence of two greatest architects of the 15th century: Brunelleschi and Alberti. This works prove the artistic formation of Bramante due to his presence at the sophisticated and cultured court of Montefeltro family in Urbino, where he was occupied with the works over Palazzo Ducale.

Together with Leonardo, Bramante participated in the most important Lombardian constructions in the end of 15th century: Duomo di Milano, Sant'Ambrogio, Duomo di Pavia, and castello di Vigevano, giving life, with the realization of big adjoining square, to the one of the most genial urbanistic scenes of the Renaissance.

The only painting attributed to Bramante was Cristo alla colonna ( see on the left) created in Abbey of Chiaravalle (now in Brera) in 1490. In 1497 was realized profound and ample arch of the facade of the church Santa Maria di Abbiategrasso. But the main work of the last years spent in Milan was reconstruction of the tribune in Santa Maria delle Grazie (see below on the right), anticipating the ideas and solutions for the St Peter's in Rome.

With the fall of Ludovico Sforza in 1499 Bramante abandoned Milan for Rome, where he could deepen his knowledge of the classic architecture and where in 1500 started works for the cloister of Santa Maria della Pace, demonstrating the signs of his Lombardian experience, while already 2 years later, in 1502 his tempietto (little temple) in the church of San Pietro in Montorio (see below on the left) show artistic expression found directly in classic architecture.

bramante-abside bramante-cristo
Fig: bramante-abside and bramante-cristo

Election of the pope Julius II in October of 1503 was a beginning of the period of the greatest works of Bramante, who in turn of a few years was nominated the major responsible for the all papal constructions: projected connection of Palazzi Vaticani with the villa of Innocent VIII through the courtyard of Belvedere; started works for the new St Peter's (18 April, 1506). None of these two were finished by Bramante and according to his projects, but he gave the impulse for the new direction in Renaissance architecture.

bramante-cupola bramante-tempietto
Fig: bramante-cupola and bramante-tempietto

In Roman years of the artist, dominated with the St Peter's construction and participation in the urbanistic program of Julius II, among other, Bramante traced the lines of via Giulia and via della Lungara, projected Palazzo dei Tribunali with the church of San Biagio (circa 1508); made up the complex constructions of Baths and Forums of the imperial period; Palazzo Caprini (later casa di Raffaello, 1510, destroyed) executed in a new mode of the urbanistic typology.

Bramante was admired as "inventor and light of the good and real architecture". His inherits and continuators was the greatest artists of the time, from Raphael to Peruzzi, from Antonio da Sangallo il Giovane to Jacopo Sansovino.

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