Congratulations to Art History Professor and CFA Associate Dean Jack Freiberg on the publication of Bramante’s Tempietto, the Roman Renaissance, and the Spanish Crown, his groundbreaking study of the Tempietto published in November 2014 by Cambridge University Press.
The Tempietto, the embodiment of the Renaissance mastery of classical architecture and its Christian reinvention, was also the preeminent commission of the Catholic kings, Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabel of Castile, in papal Rome. Dr. Freiberg’s book situates Bramante’s time-honored memorial dedicated to Saint Peter and the origins of the Roman Catholic Church at the center of a coordinated program of the arts exalting Spain’s leadership in the quest for Christian hegemony. The innovations in form and iconography that made the Tempietto an authoritative model for Western architecture were fortified in legacy monuments created by the popes in Rome and the kings in Spain from the later Renaissance to the present day. New photographs expressly taken for this study capture comprehensive views and focused details of this exemplar of Renaissance art and statecraft.
In the introduction, Freiberg describes the inspiration that led to years of research on the Tempietto: “The Tempietto is also one of those special monuments in the history of art that exerts an immediate and lasting impression on all who come into its presence, nestled in the first cloister of the Franciscan monastery of San Pietro in Montorio located high on the Janiculum hill overlooking the city. Bramante’s artistic heirs, Sebastiano Serlio, Giorgio Vasari, and Andrea Palladio, famously praised the Tempietto, but a well-informed visitor in the 1540s best expressed its compelling presence, remarking on its centralized plan, construction material, columnar system, and degree of refinement both outside and within, ending ‘it is truly a joy,’ et veramente una gioia. And so it was for me during an extended period of residence in Rome, at times with students alongside, when I enjoyed the privilege of sustained exposure to this pivotal monument in the Western architectural tradition. The first time I entered the crypt of the Tempietto and made out the names of Ferdinand and Isabel, Catholic King and Queen, inscribed on the 1502 foundation stone, I suspected that the relationship of those illustrious monarchs to this most lauded Renaissance building held rich possibilities for defining the historical underpinnings of Bramante’s architecture.”