“analysis and reconstruction in stages of the design and construction process of the old and new basilica of s. Peter in vatican, and its surroundings”

  1. De Garrido Talavera, Luis
Supervised by:
  1. Luis Arciniega García Director

Defence university: Universitat de València

Fecha de defensa: 05 July 2021

Committee:
  1. José Calvo López Chair
  2. Mercedes Gómez-Ferrer Lozano Secretary
  3. Flavia Cantatore Committee member

Type: Thesis

Abstract

Analysis and reconstruction in stages of the design and construction process of the old and new basilica of S. Peter in Vatican, and its surroundings Abstract The general objective of this Doctoral Thesis is to determine the design process and construction process of the basilica of S. Peter (old and new buildings) and the temporal evolution of Vatican area. This general objective consists of three main objectives, which are closely related to each other, and which are the following: a. Reconstruction by stages of the evolution of the urban structure of the Vatican area, from its origin to the present day. b. Reconstruction of the design process, the construction process and the temporal evolution by stages, of the old basilica of S. Peter c. Reconstruction of the design process and construction process of the new basilica of S. Peter Each of these main objectives has been achieved through the different chapters of this Thesis, along with other complementary objectives, as shown below. Objective A Reconstruction by stages the evolution of the urban structure of the Vatican area, from its beginnings to the present day This objective has been achieved in Chapter 2 of this Doctoral Thesis. Chapter 2 In this chapter a basic historical account has been created, which sequentially describes the most important events that occurred in the Vatican area from its origin to the present. For the creation of this story, a compilation of the most relevant historical references in the history of the Vatican area has been made, they have been ordered sequentially, and have been grouped according to the 29 most representative historical stages. Finally, an improved story has been created, substantially enriched based on the analysis of the collected historical drawings. In this chapter a graphic reconstruction of the evolution of the urban structure of the Vatican area has also been made. For this, 29 scale plans have been made, corresponding to the state of the urban structure on the 29 most representative dates in its history. Objective B Reconstruction by stages of the design process, the construction process and the temporal evolution of the old basilica of S. Peter This objective has been achieved in chapters 3, 4, 5, 6 of this Doctoral Thesis The ancient basilica of S. Peter was built over a long period of time and stood for an even longer. For this reason, two historical accounts have been created, one about the construction process, and another on the temporal evolution of the old basilica, until it was finally demolished. Based on these basic accounts it has been possible to reconstruct the design process, stage by stage, of the ancient basilica, considering the available historical references. By identifying the design process, it has permitted the reconstruction of the architectural structure of the old basilica once it was built, and based on this, all the stages of its construction process have also been reconstructed. Chapter 3 In this chapter a historical account has been done on the construction process of the old basilica of S. Peter, as well as its temporal evolution, from its construction to its demolition. In order to carry out this historical account, in the first place, the beginning and end of the works have been identified, as well as the most characteristic stages of the construction process of the old basilica of S. Peter. In the same way, the most characteristic stages of its temporal evolution have been identified, from when it was built until it was demolished. The different available historical references have been compiled, classified and integrated in stages. Based on these references and based on the analysis of the different historical drawings available, a basic timeline has been made on the design process and construction process of the old basilica of S. Peter. Chapter 4 Reconstruction of the design process of the old basilica of St. Peter Without a doubt there had to be a complete project for the old basilica of S. Peter, since initially a huge base was built on which the old basilica was built. In this chapter it has been possible to reconstruct all the stages of the design process of the project of the old basilica of St. Peter, by testing with different compositional settings and contrasting the results obtained with the available historical evidence. The old basilica of S. Peter had to be carefully designed for its social importance, and especially for its religious and political importance. Therefore, the different components of the building could not be sized and designed at random. As in any good architectural project, the different architectural elements of the old basilica had to be perfectly geometrically related to each other, as a result of the redundant application of the same set of compositional strategies, and the same set of geometric relationships. The compositional rules and geometric relationships used in the design of the old basilica have been deduced based on a complex but effective strategy. Initially, different combinations between certain compositional strategies and certain geometric relationships have been tentatively tested. Based on them, a tentative design process has been rebuilt, defining both the starting point and the way forward. During this design process, the different parts of the basilica are obtained, and whose dimensions must be compared with the dimensions known from the available historical evidence. If any dimension does not match, it is necessary to go back and continue trying a new set of geometric relationships with a new compositional strategy. With this new design process, the different parts of the basilica are once again obtained, the dimensions of which must be compared, another time, with known historical evidence. As this process continues, eventually it is possible to define a certain design process that results in a basilica, in which the dimensions of its different architectural elements coincide with the dimensions of the available historical evidence. Based on this methodology, the design process of the old basilica of S. Peter has been reconstructed, both in plan and in section, and all its stages have been identified, from the first decision, to the completion of the project. The identification of the design process allows for precise reconstruction of the exact shape and dimensions of all the components of the old basilica of S. Peter, and based on this it has been possible to reconstruct its executive project. Chapter 5 Graphic reconstruction of the construction process and the temporal evolution of the old basilica of S. Peter In this chapter the construction process of the old basilica has been identified, graphically reconstructing the state of the building in each of its most characteristic stages, taking into account the available historical references. Based on the state of the building in 514, the main construction actions carried out in each stage have been retraced, and as a result, each of the stages has been graphically defined, quite precisely. In a complementary way, this chapter has identified the most important stages in the evolution of the old basilica of S. Peter throughout history, since it was built in 514, until 1505, shortly before starting to be demolished, to make way for the construction of the new basilica. Each stage of the construction process and of the temporal evolution of the old basilica of S. Peter has been carried out by means of floor plans to scale, with the greatest possible detail. The floor plans not only show the evolution of the old basilica, but also the evolution of the buildings in its environment. Two secondary objectives have also been achieved in this chapter. As a consequence of the reconstruction of the most important stages of the construction process and the temporal evolution, it has been possible to complete a detailed historical account on the evolution of the old basilica from the beginning of its construction, until it was finally demolished. Secondly, a very extensive and complete bibliography has been gathered, related to the process of design and construction of the old basilica, and which can undoubtedly facilitate the work of historians who wish to carry out specific research on certain aspects related to old S. Peter. Chapter 6 Reconstruction of the appearance of the old basilica of S. Peter, in different stages of its history In this chapter, and based on the information generated in chapters 4 and 5, using the historical documentation and available historical drawings, the appearance of the old basilica of S. Peter has been reconstructed, in three fundamental stages of its existence: - year 514. When the old basilica was completely built - year 1003. Towards the middle of the existence of the old basilica - year 1505. When the old basilica began to fall Objective C Reconstruction by stages of the design and construction process of the new basilica of S. Peter This objective has been achieved in chapters 7, 8, 9 of this Doctoral Thesis Chapter 7 Creation of a historical account of the design and construction process of the new basilica of S. Peter In this chapter a complete historical account of the design and construction process of the new basilica has been made, from its beginning around Pope Nicholas V time (1447-1455), until its completion around Pope Alexander VII time (1655-1667). To carry out the historical account, many historical references and historical studies related to the design process and the construction process of the new basilica have been grouped, classified and integrated. The account has been structured based on the consecutive historical periods identified in the design and construction process. These periods have been delimited, in turn, based on the presence of the most important actors in the design process (popes and architects), whose activity has directly influenced the evolution of the construction process of the new basilica of S. Peter. Undoubtedly, this account has great historical value since it permits one to know with the upmost accuracy the design process and construction process of the new basilica and contains an enormous number of historical references, for those scholars who wish to investigate in detail any specific aspect of it. The account carried out has complemented the previously existing accounts due to the exhaustive collection of historical data, and especially due to the conclusions obtained in the analysis made on the different projects of the new basilica of S. Peter. The rigorous analysis of these projects has made it possible to complement existing gaps in the previously existing partial historical accounts and has provided a robust thread for the genesis of a complete. Of course, the account does not pretend to be exhaustive, and surely contains deductions that, in light of new information, may be partially modified. Chapter 8 Reconstruction of the design process for the new basilica of S. Peter Based on the complete historical account that has been made in the previous chapter, it can be deduced that the design process of the new basilica was extremely complex and involved several architects in different historical periods. The design process originated from the will of Nicholas V to have a major renovation done on the old basilica of S. Peter. However, he merely performed a few small renovations in the west wing. These small tasks were insignificant and simply involved the construction of the foundation of a new western apse. However, these small foundations had enormous importance in the future of the building, due to the will of Julius II that these foundations be used to build a new apse that would contain his own funerary chapel. Julius II created a complicated design strategy based on the creation of a team made up of three architects, who competed and cooperated with each other. Thus, something would only be built once agreed upon by all three architects. There should always be three architects, and upon the death of one architect another would take his place. In general, each architect made proposals independently, which should integrate the parts already built. Of all the proposals made, only those that enjoyed the consensus of the three architects were partially built. In this way the work progressed, building only some fragments included in some of the projects carried out by one of the architects belonging to the group. Sometimes it was even decided to demolish some parts already built so that the projects that everyone liked the most could be carried out. In short, a huge number of projects were carried out throughout the process, but only a few of them were used for construction. In this chapter, the projects that were used in the construction of the building, or that at least were binding in certain aspects of its construction, have been analyzed and reconstructed. The reconstruction of the “central nucleus of Bramante” has been especially important, whose project has not reached us and without a doubt existed, since it was necessary for the beginning of the construction of the new S. Peter. All the projects carried out for the new basilica of S. Peter have been analyzed, and they have been rebuilt stage by stage. However, and due to the limitation of size, this chapter only shows the most important projects, and of all of them only an initial stage is shown, and the final stage, together with the superposition with the historical drawing that has been reconstructed. The sequence of the different executive projects allows for a detailed reconstruction of all the design decisions made by the different architects involved in the design process. In this way, it has been possible to reconstruct the design process, as if it had been carried out from start to finish, by a single architect. Chapter 9 Graphic reconstruction of the building process of the new basilica of S. Peter In this chapter and based on the plans obtained in the previous chapter, the construction process of the new basilica has been identified, graphically reconstructing the state of the building in each of its most significant stages, considering the historical references available. Starting from the current state of the building, the main construction actions carried out in each stage have been retraced, and with this it is possible to graphically define the state of the works in each one of them. Each stage of the construction process of the new basilica of S. Peter has been carried out by means of floor plans to scale, with the greatest possible detail. The floor plans not only show the evolution of the new basilica, but also the evolution of the buildings in its environment. The results of this Doctoral Thesis can be of great use to historians who wish to investigate certain specific aspects of the old and new basilica of S. Peter. First, the scale plans of the Vatican area are of great importance for the History of Art, and can be very useful in several aspects, among which the following stand out: 1. They allow a better understanding of the history of the Vatican area, and especially its social, artistic, architectural and urban development 2. They allow contextualizing isolated events in the history of art in the Vatican area 3. They allow the visualization of the urban structure of the Vatican area in each of its historical stages 4. They allow a better understanding of the most important architectural and urban actions carried out at each stage 5. They make it possible to identify the main urban plan layouts that, like historical scars, have characterized the evolution of the Vatican area 6. They provide a suitable context for the analysis of the historical evolution of the most important buildings in the Vatican area, such as the old Constantinian basilica, the new basilica of S. Peter, the Mausoleum of the Severan dynasty, the Mausoleum of Honorius, the Circus of Nero, and many others 7. They provide a detailed graphic context to frame future research on specific aspects, or specific buildings, included in the Vatican area Second, the identification of all the stages of the design and construction process of the old basilica of S. Peter is of great importance for the History of Art, and can be very useful in several aspects, among which the following stand out: 1. It provides a better understanding of the history of the old basilica of S. Peter 2. It provides a better understanding of the architectural design methodology in ancient Rome 3. It allows knowing in more detail, the shape and dimensions of old S. Peter 4. It offers a general framework for the detailed study of certain aspects of the old basilica of S. Peter 5. It allows the visualization of all the historical facts related to the old basilica of S. Peter, from its inception to its demolition 6. It allows knowing in detail the buildings attached to the old basilica of S. Peter 7. It allows knowing in detail the design process of the old basilica of S. Peter 8. It allows knowing the evolution of the construction process of old S. Peter 9. It allows knowing the evolution of the old basilica over time, especially the modifications, extensions and reforms of its architectural structure In third place, the identification of all the stages of the design and construction process of the new basilica of S. Peter is of great importance for the History of Art, and can be very useful in several aspects, among which the following stand out: 1. It provides a better understanding of the history of the new basilica of S. Peter 2. It provides a better understanding of the architectural design methodology in the Renaissance 3. It offers a general framework for the detailed study of certain aspects of the new basilica of S. Peter 4. It allows the visualization of all the historical facts related to the new S. Peter 5. It allows knowing in detail the buildings annexed to the new basilica of S. Peter 6. It allows knowing in detail the design process of the new basilica of S. Peter 7. It allows knowing the evolution of the construction process of the new S. Peter