Bramante, Donato

Bramante, Donato dōnäˈtō brämänˈtā [key], 1444–1514, Italian Renaissance architect and painter, b. near Urbino. His buildings in Rome are considered the most characteristic examples of High Renaissance style. In 1477 he painted frescoes in the municipal palace at Bergamo. In Milan and neighboring cities including Pavia and Vigevano, he executed paintings that recall works by Piero della Francesca and Mantegna. Bramante designed much of the Church of Santa Maria presso San Satiro in Milan; its famous choir, painted in perspective, gives an illusion of great depth, although it is extremely shallow. He may also have planned the east end of Santa Maria delle Grazie, a spacious domed appendage to an older Gothic church. After 1499 he left for Rome, where he designed the simple but graceful cloister for Santa Maria della Pace and the exquisitely proportioned circular Tempietto in the courtyard of San Pietro in Montorio. His other works in Rome include the Belvedere courtyard at the Vatican, designs for a massive Palace of the Tribunals, the choir of Santa Maria del Popolo and other churches, and his own large house with Doric columns rhythmically disposed above a massive rusticated ground floor. His most important work, however, was his plan for St. Peter's, probably conceived as a centrally planned (Greek cross) and domed structure of enormous size and impressiveness. He favored central plans and a sense of noble severity, especially in his Roman period. Although St. Peter's was later remodeled into a longitudinal structure, Bramante is responsible for the essential proportions of the east end, and his design influenced the appearance of many smaller churches.

See studies by G. Chierci (Am. ed. 1960) and A. Bruschi (1977).

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