The Pantheon: From Antiquity to the Present

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In antiquity, these spaces were no doubt put to use, but there is nothing to tell us how that use factored into their creation. The intermediate block is built of brick-faced concrete, whose exterior is still covered in some places by dressed stone and decorative elements Fig. These decorations consist of fluted pilasters and the series of friezes already mentioned that are carved in relief on three-foot-tall slabs of marble varying in length and arranged as two horizontal bands on the intermediate block, as well as three bands to either side of the entrance portal.

Originally 28 in number 10 on both flanks and 8 by the entrance , each of the reliefs shows a garland slung between two candelabras, with small religious utensils represented as though hovering over the garlands in the center. Exterior of intermediate block, west side. Photo Mark Wilson Jones.

The top of the intermediate block is capped by a cornice with simple S-shaped modillions that continues around the rotunda as a unifying device.

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However, other aspects of the composition in this area of the building undermine its unity. The superimposed outline of a pediment with raking cornices bearing similar modillions on the front north face of the block is cut into by the roof of the portico and rendered incomplete, as already observed. Meanwhile, the marble entablature over the columns, with its more elaborate smaller modillions, runs down the sides of the intermediate block and dead-ends unceremoniously at the rotunda without any corresponding architectural feature on the curved body of the building. The formal distinctions between the rotunda and portico and their imperfect resolution in the intermediate block were so pronounced in the eyes of Renaissance viewers that they believed the rotunda and the porch to have been conceived at different times, with the intermediate block usually being associated either with one or the other.

An evident interruption in the structural bonding of the transitional block with the rotunda supported this notion. Some informed observers dated the rotunda to the Republic and considered the portico a later addition under Agrippa. Still others thought that Agrippa must have built the rotunda during the reign of Augustus, while the portico should be attributed to later emperors, either Hadrian or Antoninus Pius or Septimius Severus, for all of whom there was some epigraphic and literary testament.

This conclusion is clinched by a detail that escaped earlier publications of the building: the presence in the staircase of so-called bonding courses of large, double-size bricks, or bipedales , that traverse the tissue of the rotunda on one side and the intermediate block on the other see Chapter Seven and Plate XXIII. It is fair to say that most modern visitors find the expansive domed interior of the Pantheon to be its most impressive feature, and its crowning open oculus to be its most surprising.

This gaping hole, 30 feet about 9 meters in diameter, admits light and air and even rain, but most importantly the ever-changing illumination created by the motion of the sun. There were precedents such as the so-called Temple of Mercury at Baiae, but the effect in the Pantheon is unrivaled as a sensory architectural experience see Plate IX.

Had the interior been built when the canonic Seven Wonders of the World were formulated, it surely would have been among their number. The rotunda is a domed cylinder 55 meters in diameter, with an interior space nearly 44 meters wide spanned by a hemispherical dome. As was common in Roman centralized buildings, the circular geometry of the plan is articulated by two main orthogonal axes and two diagonal axes so as to create eight sectors like slices of a pie see Plate V.

On the cross axis, the exedras are semicircular, while on the diagonal axes their plan follows the curve of the rotunda. The main axis runs through the rectangular entrance space and terminates at the semicircular exedra that is the main apse Fig. Diagrams of cavities in the wall. Plan of pavement, niches, and high altar; anonymous seventeenth-century drawing associated with the Bernini workshop.

Interior seen along main axis. Photo Maxim Atayants. The paving of the interior consists of a pattern of circular disks and squares that reinforce the essential geometrical themes of the whole building. Framed within foot squares and separated by 3-foot bands, these squares and circles alternate with each other on the cardinal axes, as they do in all rows parallel to the cardinals. As a result, sequences of either squares or circles run along diagonal rows with a line of disks traversing from one diagonal exedra to its opposing mate, and with a single roundel suitably locating the absolute center of the composition.

The interior elevation consists of three zones, or ranges. The lowest incorporates the main columns and pilasters standing on the pavement and capped with a full entablature, and its prominent cornice extending around the girth of the fabric, broken only at the entrance arch and the main apse. The middle, or attic level, occupies the rest of the wall up to the springing of the dome.

Finally, the uppermost zone consists of the coffered dome. A major unifying compositional feature is the use of prestigious colored marbles. Corinthian columns with monolithic shafts measuring 30 feet high — three-quarters the height of those in the portico — screen the exedras from the central space. But rather than the smooth granite of the exterior shafts, these are fluted and made of colored marble: purple-veined ivory-colored pavonazetto from Turkey and salmon-honey-colored giallo antico from Tunisia in alternate exedras.

In keeping with a sophisticated play of symmetries, the aedicules are of two types: those with triangular pediments were made of paler marbles while those with segmental pediments had a deep-hued polychromy. The columns and their pilasters carry Corinthian capitals whose marble, like that of the small pediments, comes from Carrara, the only stone employed in the Pantheon to come from Italy.

The choice of this particular marble reflected its ability to hold very fine detail; indeed, these capitals are wrought with exquisite workmanship and such extraordinarily crisp finishing that they convey an almost metallic quality Fig. Corinthian capital from the interior. Some of these interventions are easy to identify, such as the coffering and other embellishments in the principal apse and of course any feature related to Christianity. In other cases, the ancient elements and their subsequent replications are less easy to distinguish.

Detailed inspections and technical analysis during a campaign of conservation under the direction of Mario Lolli Ghetti in the s have revealed the full extent of the renovations of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, when a substantial proportion of the ancient revetment was replaced with thinner sheets of marble often reworked ancient material bonded to backing slabs of coarser stones.

Here and there are stones not known to antiquity, such as pieces of giallo senese from the environs of Siena, which replaced damaged portions of the more fragile giallo antico. Nonetheless, the general pattern of the pavement and its polychromy have been faithfully maintained.

Sadly, this is not true of the elevation of the rotunda. Ancient materials were removed not just because they had become damaged but also because they were wanted elsewhere. Similarly, revetment made of serpentine, also known as green porphyry, was substituted with the more common but less intense verde antico. The most radical modifications occurred on the attic level of the interior.

The Pantheon: From Antiquity to the Present | American Journal of Archaeology

Here, the alternating panels framed by ornamental moldings and pediments over window-like recesses can be firmly dated to , when the ancient composition was heavily altered. The fact that the pilastrini were not aligned in predictable fashion either with the columns below or the ribs of the dome above contributed — like the junction of the portico and rotunda on the exterior — to the theories about successive building campaigns in completing the Pantheon see Plates II , VIII , and X , as well as Chapters Ten, Eleven, and Twelve.

The ancient materials from the attic have been lost, save for some pieces that ended up in museums and antiquarian collections. Perhaps nothing about the Pantheon is so much studied and yet so inscrutable as its structure and construction, especially that of the dome. Brick facing was used to contain the concrete, and relieving arches arches over voids enabled the thickness of the walls to be honeycombed with cavities that made the structure lighter and hastened the curing of the concrete see Plate IV.

Investigations associated with conservation works have also been able to determine that the aggregate materials used in the concrete of the rotunda and dome are graded into at least six different strata, from the travertine-laden concrete at floor level to a mixture using light volcanic scoria like pumice but denser at the top toward the oculus Fig.

Section showing gradations of heavy-to-light concrete from bottom to top. Lancaster , Fig. On the other hand, we cannot assume that the relieving arches extend as solid brick throughout the full thickness of the drum, as frequently shown in modern reconstructions.

It seems more likely that in the guts of the structure, bricks are toothed to bond with the concrete Fig. Similarly, the foundations of the rotunda have yet to be adequately investigated, and so we remain unsure of the extent to which ground settlement might have contributed to some of the vertical cracks thatpunctuate the structure. The original decoration of the coffering of the dome is likewise a matter of conjecture: Did the coffers contain stellar or floral motifs?

Were they elaborated with ornamental moldings? Were they painted or gilded? Was there once a system of stone or stucco facing the exterior of the rotunda, perhaps incorporating pilasters? The projections of artists and experts from the Renaissance onward may provide plausible answers, but none can be indisputably legitimized by literary, pictorial, or archaeological evidence. Cutaway of the Pantheon showing its construction. One of the most intellectually compelling aspects of the Pantheon is the simple proportional scheme that underlies its form.

The interior diameter of the rotunda is equal in dimension to the height of the interior from pavement to oculus, while the cornice marking the division between wall and dome exactly bisects this height see Plate XII. A hemisphere, therefore, hovers over a cylinder of the same radius and the same height, which means that a sphere can be inscribed in the whole space. Since the height of the intermediate block is the same dimension as the sides of this square, these parts of the project together compose a cube. These relationships suggest both a generative and a visual function for the measurements employed.

In other words, the composition of the building is governed by a coherent set of dimensions, which facilitated its design and execution, as well as contributing to its essential formal aspect. Further analysis reveals how simple ratios, above all and , resonate also in the relationships between various smaller parts of the composition see Plate X. This, then, is a scheme of elemental beauty and simplicity redolent of Greek mathematics, a connection that Giangiacomo Martines proposes here.

Indeed, the fact that the circle defining the centers of the rotunda columns has a diameter of Roman feet, or cubits, naturally invites speculation on a design method rooted in philosophical intent.

Book Review: “The Pantheon” by William L. MacDonald

Such correspondences continue to inspire theories to explain both the genesis of the design and its intentions, theories that presume the agency of a thoroughly trained and competent ancient architect. One of his skills was the ability to construct accurate technical drawings to scale. On the basis of numerous extant examples, such as a marble plan of the Temple of Castor and Pollux near the Circus Flaminius which includes details like column bases and steps , it is clear that Roman architects used scaled plans and models, a common scale being , or 1 inch to 20 feet.

At a later stage in design, relevant information from such drawings, augmented by dimensional and proportional calculations, would have been used to construct full-scale templates, such as the set located near the entrance to the Mausoleum of Augustus, of which some, as mentioned, happen to relate to the Pantheon itself. In the period under scrutiny, however, one name stands out from the prevailing anonymity, the architect-engineer Apollodorus of Damascus. He was a master architect-engineer with extensive expertise in constructing timber structures of a kind needed to provide initial support for the concrete dome.

The coffering of an exedra presents the closest-known parallel for the coffering of the Pantheon dome see Fig. Quite possibly this sophisticated type of treatment was a hallmark of Apollodorus or architects in his circle. Finally, with the inception date of the monument in question once more, the possibility of a Trajanic start gives added strength to the association with Apollodorus, for we know Trajan to have been his appreciative patron and supporter. That the Pantheon still stood in impressive condition in late antiquity is well attested in the fourth century BC by the Roman historian Ammianus Marcellinus.

It was he who left that felicitous image of the rotunda resembling a city, thus calling attention to the articulation of the interior in a mode that evoked the character of urban facades. Hyperbole may have entered into his writing, yet the Pantheon must have been an extraordinarily captivating building, even by the grandiose standards of Imperial Rome. Phocas ruled from to and Boniface IV from to At the turn of the seventh—eighth centuries, the Venerable Bede likened the dedication of the Pantheon of all the ancient gods to all the martyrs of the Church, although the English monk probably had no firmer basis than tradition for doing so.

The twelfth-century Roman guidebook, the Mirabilia Urbis Romae , stated that the dedication to Mary supplanted an original dedication to Cybele, the mother of all of the pagan gods. The English pilgrim John Capgrave repeated this story in the early s, recounting how the ancient general Agrippa had seen a vision of Cybele and vowed a church to her and all of the gods if his campaign against the Persians was successful.

The Byzantine emperor Constans II AD — despoiled the dome of its gilded bronze roof tiles, which were ultimately lost. Other changes to the exterior came much later. At some unspecified moment in the medieval era, the columns on the east side of the portico were lost or severely damaged. To avoid collapse, a brick wall was erected on a portion of its front and east-facing sides. Most of the wall was eventually removed when the columns were repaired and replaced in the seventeenth century, although remnants of the brick are visible in the uppermost reaches on the east side.

The elevated grade of the piazza also restricted access to the porch, reinforcing this separation between the portico and the urban space it once dominated. To descend to the ancient level of the building, three doors and side entrances were established on the perimeter of the colonnade. Exterior view of the Pantheon; sixteenth-century engraving by Etienne Duperac. Avery Library, Columbia University. The state of the interior during the Middle Ages is also discussed in Chapter Eight. Luke himself, can be traced no earlier than the eighth century and, thus, well after the dedication of the edifice to St.

Mary and all martyrs. The high altar itself was subject to many changes. In , it was marked by a ciborium composed of porphyry columns, and a low stone parapet surmounted by six more porphyry columns surrounded the altar precinct. These arrangements of were complemented by a fifteenth-century maiolica relief of the Assumption of the Virgin, which hung within a painted gloria of saints in the half dome of the apse. In general, the Pantheon received greater respect in the Renaissance than most ancient monuments in Rome, which were often plundered for their building materials and decorative stone.

Rodolfo Lanciani catalogued such acts of pillage of ancient architecture in his famous four-volume work, Storia degli scavi di Roma —; a fifth volume appeared in The Pantheon did better than escape spoliation for the most part and was occasionally the beneficiary of these campaigns. Under Leo X — , pedestals were installed under the lions and the urn to raise them above the activity of the square and preserve their integrity.

At the beginning of the sixteenth century, their predecessor, Julius II — , was too busy with the construction of St. That he left it untouched in the search for building materials for the Vatican is remarkable.

Rome Day 2 Inside the Pantheon

Although the will has not survived, a letter by an associate in the same year of his death, , indicates that he left ample funds for the construction of a tomb, an altar, and their maintenance. As Nesselrath points out, there is good evidence of earlier burials in the Pantheon, for which medieval and early Renaissance tomb slabs are still preserved, having been removed from the floor during restorations.

The inscribed tablet honoring Peruzzi in the Pantheon today was placed there by his proud Sienese compatriots in Joseph of the Holy Land, whose members were composed exclusively of artists, to grant the privilege of burial in the Pantheon. Thus, in the ensuing years it became the final resting place of Perino del Vaga , Taddeo Zuccaro , Giacomo Vignola , and others. Beyond that, Raphael may have given impetus to the restoration or renewal of the damaged and despoiled niches in the great piers of the rotunda.

From the period of the Renaissance onward, architects and antiquarians left innumerable studies of the fabric in drawings and engravings. In fact, the reception of the Pantheon down to the twenty-first century has paradoxically oscillated between praise of its merits and sympathetic analysis or criticism of features deemed unworthy of the original architect or architects, and therefore not authentic to its origins. Those who attempted to critique the composition and improve it in their drawings famously include Francesco di Giorgio Martini — and Antonio da Sangallo the Younger — Francesco di Giorgio left no detailed textual commentary pertaining to the drawing, in which he increased the height of the interior by inserting an additional attic register, modified the number and rhythm of the pilasters belonging to the existing attic, and rearranged the coffering of the dome see Fig.

These alterations served one purpose: to bring vertical elements of the elevation in line with one another. Thus, Francesco imaginatively redeemed the monument from violating a crucial tenet of Renaissance composition in which solid-above-solid and void-above-void was the rule. Around Antonio da Sangallo the Younger addressed this issue and several others in drawings and written commentary Fig. Louvre inv. Suspended from the original bronze trusses there may have been great barrel-vaulted ceilings likewise made of bronze, with a larger vault for the central nave and smaller ones for the flanking aisles.

The only ancient assembly of bronze that does survive at the Pantheon is the grandiose portal made of two opening leaves slung on vertical pivot hinges framed by fluted pilasters at the sides, with an open grille overhead. The fact that the door leaves do not fill the opening without the grille, along with some stylistic clues, suggests that they could have been reutilized from some earlier building. This notion is strengthened by the presence of candelabra, festoons, ribbons, and religious utensils carved in the friezes that run at intervals around the walls of the transitional block, as these second-century AD decorations recall comparable motifs used for the first time on Augustan monuments.

Door and vault in portico; drawing by Raphael.

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Uffizi A verso. The link between the porch of the Pantheon and the rotunda is formed by the so-called intermediate or transitional block. These names reflect the fact that its form had to mediate between the rectilinear geometry of the portico and the circular geometry of the rotunda. At a high level, the stairs also provide the means of entry to a group of rooms later occupied by the Accademia dei Virtuosi, an association of artists that was based here since the sixteenth century. In antiquity, these spaces were no doubt put to use, but there is nothing to tell us how that use factored into their creation.

The intermediate block is built of brick-faced concrete, whose exterior is still covered in some places by dressed stone and decorative elements Fig. These decorations consist of fluted pilasters and the series of friezes already mentioned that are carved in relief on three-foot-tall slabs of marble varying in length and arranged as two horizontal bands on the intermediate block, as well as three bands to either side of the entrance portal.

Originally 28 in number 10 on both flanks and 8 by the entrance , each of the reliefs shows a garland slung between two candelabras, with small religious utensils represented as though hovering over the garlands in the center. Exterior of intermediate block, west side. Photo Mark Wilson Jones. The top of the intermediate block is capped by a cornice with simple S-shaped modillions that continues around the rotunda as a unifying device.

However, other aspects of the composition in this area of the building undermine its unity. The superimposed outline of a pediment with raking cornices bearing similar modillions on the front north face of the block is cut into by the roof of the portico and rendered incomplete, as already observed.

Meanwhile, the marble entablature over the columns, with its more elaborate smaller modillions, runs down the sides of the intermediate block and dead-ends unceremoniously at the rotunda without any corresponding architectural feature on the curved body of the building.

The formal distinctions between the rotunda and portico and their imperfect resolution in the intermediate block were so pronounced in the eyes of Renaissance viewers that they believed the rotunda and the porch to have been conceived at different times, with the intermediate block usually being associated either with one or the other.

The Pantheon

An evident interruption in the structural bonding of the transitional block with the rotunda supported this notion. Some informed observers dated the rotunda to the Republic and considered the portico a later addition under Agrippa. Still others thought that Agrippa must have built the rotunda during the reign of Augustus, while the portico should be attributed to later emperors, either Hadrian or Antoninus Pius or Septimius Severus, for all of whom there was some epigraphic and literary testament.

This conclusion is clinched by a detail that escaped earlier publications of the building: the presence in the staircase of so-called bonding courses of large, double-size bricks, or bipedales , that traverse the tissue of the rotunda on one side and the intermediate block on the other see Chapter Seven and Plate XXIII.

It is fair to say that most modern visitors find the expansive domed interior of the Pantheon to be its most impressive feature, and its crowning open oculus to be its most surprising. This gaping hole, 30 feet about 9 meters in diameter, admits light and air and even rain, but most importantly the ever-changing illumination created by the motion of the sun. There were precedents such as the so-called Temple of Mercury at Baiae, but the effect in the Pantheon is unrivaled as a sensory architectural experience see Plate IX.

Had the interior been built when the canonic Seven Wonders of the World were formulated, it surely would have been among their number. The rotunda is a domed cylinder 55 meters in diameter, with an interior space nearly 44 meters wide spanned by a hemispherical dome. As was common in Roman centralized buildings, the circular geometry of the plan is articulated by two main orthogonal axes and two diagonal axes so as to create eight sectors like slices of a pie see Plate V.

On the cross axis, the exedras are semicircular, while on the diagonal axes their plan follows the curve of the rotunda. The main axis runs through the rectangular entrance space and terminates at the semicircular exedra that is the main apse Fig. Diagrams of cavities in the wall. Plan of pavement, niches, and high altar; anonymous seventeenth-century drawing associated with the Bernini workshop. Interior seen along main axis. Photo Maxim Atayants. The paving of the interior consists of a pattern of circular disks and squares that reinforce the essential geometrical themes of the whole building.

Framed within foot squares and separated by 3-foot bands, these squares and circles alternate with each other on the cardinal axes, as they do in all rows parallel to the cardinals. As a result, sequences of either squares or circles run along diagonal rows with a line of disks traversing from one diagonal exedra to its opposing mate, and with a single roundel suitably locating the absolute center of the composition.

The interior elevation consists of three zones, or ranges. The lowest incorporates the main columns and pilasters standing on the pavement and capped with a full entablature, and its prominent cornice extending around the girth of the fabric, broken only at the entrance arch and the main apse.

The middle, or attic level, occupies the rest of the wall up to the springing of the dome. Finally, the uppermost zone consists of the coffered dome. A major unifying compositional feature is the use of prestigious colored marbles. Corinthian columns with monolithic shafts measuring 30 feet high — three-quarters the height of those in the portico — screen the exedras from the central space. But rather than the smooth granite of the exterior shafts, these are fluted and made of colored marble: purple-veined ivory-colored pavonazetto from Turkey and salmon-honey-colored giallo antico from Tunisia in alternate exedras.

In keeping with a sophisticated play of symmetries, the aedicules are of two types: those with triangular pediments were made of paler marbles while those with segmental pediments had a deep-hued polychromy. The columns and their pilasters carry Corinthian capitals whose marble, like that of the small pediments, comes from Carrara, the only stone employed in the Pantheon to come from Italy. The choice of this particular marble reflected its ability to hold very fine detail; indeed, these capitals are wrought with exquisite workmanship and such extraordinarily crisp finishing that they convey an almost metallic quality Fig.

Corinthian capital from the interior. Some of these interventions are easy to identify, such as the coffering and other embellishments in the principal apse and of course any feature related to Christianity. In other cases, the ancient elements and their subsequent replications are less easy to distinguish. Detailed inspections and technical analysis during a campaign of conservation under the direction of Mario Lolli Ghetti in the s have revealed the full extent of the renovations of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, when a substantial proportion of the ancient revetment was replaced with thinner sheets of marble often reworked ancient material bonded to backing slabs of coarser stones.

Here and there are stones not known to antiquity, such as pieces of giallo senese from the environs of Siena, which replaced damaged portions of the more fragile giallo antico. Nonetheless, the general pattern of the pavement and its polychromy have been faithfully maintained. Sadly, this is not true of the elevation of the rotunda. Ancient materials were removed not just because they had become damaged but also because they were wanted elsewhere. Similarly, revetment made of serpentine, also known as green porphyry, was substituted with the more common but less intense verde antico.

The most radical modifications occurred on the attic level of the interior. Here, the alternating panels framed by ornamental moldings and pediments over window-like recesses can be firmly dated to , when the ancient composition was heavily altered. The fact that the pilastrini were not aligned in predictable fashion either with the columns below or the ribs of the dome above contributed — like the junction of the portico and rotunda on the exterior — to the theories about successive building campaigns in completing the Pantheon see Plates II , VIII , and X , as well as Chapters Ten, Eleven, and Twelve.

The ancient materials from the attic have been lost, save for some pieces that ended up in museums and antiquarian collections. Perhaps nothing about the Pantheon is so much studied and yet so inscrutable as its structure and construction, especially that of the dome. Brick facing was used to contain the concrete, and relieving arches arches over voids enabled the thickness of the walls to be honeycombed with cavities that made the structure lighter and hastened the curing of the concrete see Plate IV. Investigations associated with conservation works have also been able to determine that the aggregate materials used in the concrete of the rotunda and dome are graded into at least six different strata, from the travertine-laden concrete at floor level to a mixture using light volcanic scoria like pumice but denser at the top toward the oculus Fig.

Section showing gradations of heavy-to-light concrete from bottom to top. Lancaster , Fig. On the other hand, we cannot assume that the relieving arches extend as solid brick throughout the full thickness of the drum, as frequently shown in modern reconstructions. It seems more likely that in the guts of the structure, bricks are toothed to bond with the concrete Fig. Similarly, the foundations of the rotunda have yet to be adequately investigated, and so we remain unsure of the extent to which ground settlement might have contributed to some of the vertical cracks thatpunctuate the structure.

The original decoration of the coffering of the dome is likewise a matter of conjecture: Did the coffers contain stellar or floral motifs? Were they elaborated with ornamental moldings? Were they painted or gilded? Was there once a system of stone or stucco facing the exterior of the rotunda, perhaps incorporating pilasters? The projections of artists and experts from the Renaissance onward may provide plausible answers, but none can be indisputably legitimized by literary, pictorial, or archaeological evidence. Cutaway of the Pantheon showing its construction.

One of the most intellectually compelling aspects of the Pantheon is the simple proportional scheme that underlies its form. The interior diameter of the rotunda is equal in dimension to the height of the interior from pavement to oculus, while the cornice marking the division between wall and dome exactly bisects this height see Plate XII.

A hemisphere, therefore, hovers over a cylinder of the same radius and the same height, which means that a sphere can be inscribed in the whole space. Since the height of the intermediate block is the same dimension as the sides of this square, these parts of the project together compose a cube. These relationships suggest both a generative and a visual function for the measurements employed. In other words, the composition of the building is governed by a coherent set of dimensions, which facilitated its design and execution, as well as contributing to its essential formal aspect.

Further analysis reveals how simple ratios, above all and , resonate also in the relationships between various smaller parts of the composition see Plate X. This, then, is a scheme of elemental beauty and simplicity redolent of Greek mathematics, a connection that Giangiacomo Martines proposes here. Indeed, the fact that the circle defining the centers of the rotunda columns has a diameter of Roman feet, or cubits, naturally invites speculation on a design method rooted in philosophical intent.

Such correspondences continue to inspire theories to explain both the genesis of the design and its intentions, theories that presume the agency of a thoroughly trained and competent ancient architect. One of his skills was the ability to construct accurate technical drawings to scale. On the basis of numerous extant examples, such as a marble plan of the Temple of Castor and Pollux near the Circus Flaminius which includes details like column bases and steps , it is clear that Roman architects used scaled plans and models, a common scale being , or 1 inch to 20 feet.

At a later stage in design, relevant information from such drawings, augmented by dimensional and proportional calculations, would have been used to construct full-scale templates, such as the set located near the entrance to the Mausoleum of Augustus, of which some, as mentioned, happen to relate to the Pantheon itself. In the period under scrutiny, however, one name stands out from the prevailing anonymity, the architect-engineer Apollodorus of Damascus.

He was a master architect-engineer with extensive expertise in constructing timber structures of a kind needed to provide initial support for the concrete dome. The coffering of an exedra presents the closest-known parallel for the coffering of the Pantheon dome see Fig. Quite possibly this sophisticated type of treatment was a hallmark of Apollodorus or architects in his circle.

Finally, with the inception date of the monument in question once more, the possibility of a Trajanic start gives added strength to the association with Apollodorus, for we know Trajan to have been his appreciative patron and supporter. That the Pantheon still stood in impressive condition in late antiquity is well attested in the fourth century BC by the Roman historian Ammianus Marcellinus.

It was he who left that felicitous image of the rotunda resembling a city, thus calling attention to the articulation of the interior in a mode that evoked the character of urban facades. Hyperbole may have entered into his writing, yet the Pantheon must have been an extraordinarily captivating building, even by the grandiose standards of Imperial Rome.

Phocas ruled from to and Boniface IV from to At the turn of the seventh—eighth centuries, the Venerable Bede likened the dedication of the Pantheon of all the ancient gods to all the martyrs of the Church, although the English monk probably had no firmer basis than tradition for doing so. The twelfth-century Roman guidebook, the Mirabilia Urbis Romae , stated that the dedication to Mary supplanted an original dedication to Cybele, the mother of all of the pagan gods.

The English pilgrim John Capgrave repeated this story in the early s, recounting how the ancient general Agrippa had seen a vision of Cybele and vowed a church to her and all of the gods if his campaign against the Persians was successful. The Byzantine emperor Constans II AD — despoiled the dome of its gilded bronze roof tiles, which were ultimately lost.

Other changes to the exterior came much later. At some unspecified moment in the medieval era, the columns on the east side of the portico were lost or severely damaged. To avoid collapse, a brick wall was erected on a portion of its front and east-facing sides. Most of the wall was eventually removed when the columns were repaired and replaced in the seventeenth century, although remnants of the brick are visible in the uppermost reaches on the east side. The elevated grade of the piazza also restricted access to the porch, reinforcing this separation between the portico and the urban space it once dominated.

To descend to the ancient level of the building, three doors and side entrances were established on the perimeter of the colonnade. Exterior view of the Pantheon; sixteenth-century engraving by Etienne Duperac. Avery Library, Columbia University. The state of the interior during the Middle Ages is also discussed in Chapter Eight. Luke himself, can be traced no earlier than the eighth century and, thus, well after the dedication of the edifice to St.

Mary and all martyrs. The high altar itself was subject to many changes. In , it was marked by a ciborium composed of porphyry columns, and a low stone parapet surmounted by six more porphyry columns surrounded the altar precinct. These arrangements of were complemented by a fifteenth-century maiolica relief of the Assumption of the Virgin, which hung within a painted gloria of saints in the half dome of the apse.

In general, the Pantheon received greater respect in the Renaissance than most ancient monuments in Rome, which were often plundered for their building materials and decorative stone. Rodolfo Lanciani catalogued such acts of pillage of ancient architecture in his famous four-volume work, Storia degli scavi di Roma —; a fifth volume appeared in The Pantheon did better than escape spoliation for the most part and was occasionally the beneficiary of these campaigns.

Under Leo X — , pedestals were installed under the lions and the urn to raise them above the activity of the square and preserve their integrity. At the beginning of the sixteenth century, their predecessor, Julius II — , was too busy with the construction of St. That he left it untouched in the search for building materials for the Vatican is remarkable. Although the will has not survived, a letter by an associate in the same year of his death, , indicates that he left ample funds for the construction of a tomb, an altar, and their maintenance.

As Nesselrath points out, there is good evidence of earlier burials in the Pantheon, for which medieval and early Renaissance tomb slabs are still preserved, having been removed from the floor during restorations. The inscribed tablet honoring Peruzzi in the Pantheon today was placed there by his proud Sienese compatriots in See all 11 brand new listings. Buy it now.

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Add to basket. Be the first to write a review About this product. All listings for this product Buy it now Buy it now. New New. See all About this product Product Information This book treats the Pantheon from the unique perspective of its construction history, survival and reception through history. Additional Product Features Place of Publication.

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