"St. Peter's Dome in the Vatican," Rome (Victorian Photographs by Robert MacPherson)
"St. Peter's Dome in the Vatican," Rome


The current version of St. Peter's Dome was designed by Michelangelo in 1547. A native Tuscan, Michelangelo would have looked as much, if not more, to the Duomo of Florence as to the Pantheon for both artistic inspiration and architectural guidance. Ovoid in shape—unlike the hemispherical dome of the Pantheon—and rising steeply, the upward thrust of St. Peter’s dome illustrates the movement away from the balance and symmetry by which the Renaissance was defined, and toward the mannerist tendencies for exaggeration that will develop into the baroque. Michelangelo died in 1564 leaving the dome unfinished with only the drum constructed. The work was completed by a succession of architects—and popes—whose own vision is reflected in the final product, despite the fact that Michelangelo had left behind completed plans and detailed instructions.  

Associated Place(s)

Part of Group:


  • Robert MacPherson

Image Date: 

circa. 1870