Circular Thinking


Bramante’s Tempietto on the Janiculum hill Renaissance art and architecture. The sixteen doric columns are pilfered from ancient sources, which was pivotal in the High Renaissance’s classical revival.

It is essentially a Renaissance shrine to Peter, who was mistakenly thought to have been buried beneath it. This mini-re-order reinterprets pagan peristyle temples’ design and use as shrines to particular gods.

The Tempietto has been described as evoking the peristyle design’s “aura of columns.” It is intriguing to consider a tangible object that can act as an energy or atmospheric sensation. The aura of classical art and architecture ‘order’, ‘rational authority’, and ‘harmonious proportion’ are embodied in the column.

Classical columns’ circularity creates soft edges that imply continuation rather than the finality and containment of a flat plane’s edge. The Tempietto is composed of a tiered, layered series of circles. This encircling space marks and memorializes the site of the church of Peter, the “rock” upon which God declared he would build his church.

The Tempietto’s dome informed Bramante’s design for St. Peter’s Basilica, which was modified by Michelangelo. The etymology of dome is  domus  or home. Bramante’s Tempietto provides a commemorative home for St. Peter.

The Tempietto is too small to express its spatial intentions from inside. Rather it provides a singular, a space of intimate scales meant to mark a site of earthly importance to divine workings.


The Church of the Gesu, on the other hand, is meant to be experienced from inside. Its Counter Reformation rhetoric counters the staid, harmony and restraint of the classically inspired This preeminent example of Counter Reformation architecture is persuasive purpose, that vaulting space is that Catholicism holds the truth and Martin Luther was a heretic!

The spacious and sumptuous interior of the church and the dome, in the form of the church’s dome. The dome is circular and is golden and luminous, evoking the higher power of the divine. It forms an otherworldly, a celestial canopy that is meant to inspire