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The architects who succeeded Bramante were Giuliano | its falling to ruin, and perhaps of its being shut up for and Antonio di San Gallo, with whom was associated the great Raphael who had already immortalized himself by Michel Angelo began his labours by strengthening the the great paintings which he had been executing in the four great piers, which, although they had been repeatedly Vatican since 1508. Dr. Burton quotes a letter written by reinforcer, did not even yet appear to him so strong as they Raphael upon the occasion of his appointment, wherein he ought to be. He returned to the plan of a Greek cross, says, “His Holiness, in conferring an honour upon me, has widened the tribune and transepts, and gave a much freer placed a great load upon my shoulders; this is the super area than his predecessors hall projected. “To what point intendence of the building of St. Peter's. I hope that I shall he carried the work," says Mr. Woods, “I do not know; not sink under it: and the more so, as the plan which I but the whole, as far as the extent of the Greek cross, seems have made for it pleases his holiness, and is commended by to have been continued nearly according to his design." many men of genius. But I raise my thoughts even Hedied in 1563. The two small cupolas were finished by higher. I could wish to reach the beautiful forms of the
Vignola, in 1573. The great cupola was completed in ancient buildings; nor can I tell whether my flight will be
1390 ; Michel Angelo had raised the drum, or the tambúro like that of Icarus. Vitruvius affords me great lights, but as the Italians call it, that is to say, the cylindrical part, not enough."
which rises to the springing of the arch of the dome. Its Raphael died in 1520, and Giuliano di San Gallo before completion was the work of Giacomo della Porta and Dohim; they did nothing beyond strengthening the four great menico Fontana, who were the architects of Sextus V.; pillars which Bramante had raised, and which, though 59 and the zeal of that pope being as great, if not greater, than feet in diameter, were thought insufficient for the weight of that of any of his predecessors, 600 workmen were employed the intended cupola. The next architect was Baltassar night and day, and the money monthly expended was Peruzzi, who, despairing of the time and money required
100,000 gollen crowns. By this incessant labour the cupola for the completion of Bramante's design, intended to adopt
was completed in the short space of twenty-two months,a Greek cross for the plan; the edifice was under his super
or by the month of May, 1590 ; the outer covering of lead intendence during the pontificates of Adrian VI. and Cle
was all of the dome that remained unfinished; the lantern ment VII., but it advanced very slowly, in those disturbed indeed was not yet erected. times. Paul III. who ascended the papal throne in 1537, Paul V., who occupied the papal chair from 1605 to 1621, employed Antonio di San Gallo, who brought the design pursued the work with equal ardour. At his accession a back again to a Latin cross; a model of his intended edi-part of the ancient basilica was still standing ; be lost no fice, which was made by his servant, at the cost of 4,184 | time in pulling it down, and on the 18th of February, 1603, crowns, may be still seen in the present church. He laiil the first stone of the great entrance. His architect strengthened the supports of the intended cupola, vast as
was Carlo Maderno, who returned to the original plan of they had already become ; and died in 1546.
the Latin cross, and finished the body of the edifice in 1614. We have now reached the period in which Michel The great colomaile which stands in front of it was added Angelo was called in to superintend the work, he being by Bernini, under Alexander VII., who reigned from 1655 then 72 years old. In the brief by which he received his
to 1667. The sacristy, which, strictly speaking, has nothing appointment from Paul III. he was intrusted with authority to do with the main edilce, was added so late as 1780 by to do and undo whatever he pleased ; and in the same Pius VI. document he insisted upon the insertion of a declaration
• How fortunate," exclaims Forsyth, " that a structure that he undertook the work for the love of God, and without created by so many pontiff's, and the subject of so many any salary or reward. “Nor was this,” says Mr. Woods,“ a
plays, should keep its proportions inviolate, even in the vain boast, for although Paul III. repeatedly urged his
smallest ornaments! Michel Angelo left it an unfinished acceptance of some remuneration he invariably refused it." memorial of his proud, towering, gigantic powers, and his Michel Angelo began by producing a model of the building, awful genius watched over his successors, till at last a according to the altered design which he intended to adopt. wretched plasterer came down from Como, and him we must “There was, perhaps, a little ostentation in producing a
execrate, for the Latin cross, the aisles, the attic, and the model of the altered design, in fifteen days, and at the ex
front." Mr. Forsyth is not the only person who has heaped pense of 25 crowns; while San Gallo's model had occupied
a load of censure upon Carlo Maderno; but it is a disputed several years: but St. Peter's at this time bad become a standing job, and the underlings employed in it, instead of have been preferable to the Latin.
point among the critics whether the Greek cross would feeling any zeal to complete it, considered an appointment
The reader will observe from this sketch that upwards of in the building as an establishment for life. All this Michel Angelo endeavoured to put an end to, and excited Church was completed and that nearly three centuries
one hundred years elapsed before the body of St. Peter's great ill-will towards himself for so doing ; but his wonderful
were required to bring it to its present form. In the talents and high character carried him through all opposi
middle of the seventeenth century, Carlo Fontana drew up tion." Michel Angelo seems indeed to have had even a
an account of the building, by order of Innocent the Ninth, larger number of enemies than usually fell to the lot of great artists in those days; and Julius lll., who succeeded together with a loose estimate of its cost, not from the sums
actually expended, for many of the accounts were lost,-but Paul III. in 1550, was soon assailed from all sides with
from the value of the materials employed. According to complaints of the overbearing temper of his architect, and
his calculations there had been expended upon it up to that of his determined opposition to the plans and labours of the
time 47,151,150 millions of scudi, or about £11,625,000 of most experienced breihren. The pope continued firm in his
our money. This amount does not include the cost of the attachment, but Michel Angelo, despite of the countenance
bronze chair of St. Peter, in which was used 219,061 lbs. of afforded him by a new diploma, confirming all his former
that metal, nor of the bronze confessional which contains powers, was so wearied by ihe incessant clamours and ma
186,392 lbs. næuvres of his enemies, that he would willingly have retired to end his days at Florence, had he consulted only his pri
THE APPROACII, COLONNADE, AND FRONT. vate ease. The feelings which he entertained upon the The Church of St. Peter stands on the left or western subject are often expressed in his letters to his friends; in
side of the Tiber, the great bulk of the city being on the one to Vasari he says : “My dear friend George, I call God opposite side. “There is no distant point of view," says to witness, that I was engaged against my will, and with Mr. Wools, “in which this church gives an impression of very great reluctance, by Pope Paul III., in the building of great magnificence, or from which it has the appearance of St. Peter's ten years ago: and if the construction of that being such an immense building as it really is. This is building had been followed up to the present day in the owing to the situation, and perhaps no building of great manner it was then carried on, I should now be arrived at
consequence was ever so badly placed. It stands in a such a point in the building, that I should turn to it with hollow between the Janiculan and Vatican hills which are delight; but from want of money it lias proceeded and still connected by a neck behind it: so that on three sides it is proceeds very slowly, just as it has come to the most labo- surrounded by slopes, rising almost immediaiely from it, rious anel ditiicult paris; so that ly abandoning it now, the and about equalling the height of the nave, and in front, in only consequence would be, that with excessive shame and spite of the large space before it, it seems encumbered with improprieis, I should lose the reward of the fatigues which bouses, which prevent a view down to the base." In fact, I have endured these ten years, for the love of God." He
were it not for the dome, the buildings of the Vatican concludes, " To make you understand the consequence of would actually overtop the church, as the reader may ob abandoning the said building; in the first place, I should serve by referring to a former engraving.* satisfy several scoundrels, and I should be the occasion of
* See Saturday Magazine, Vol. IX., p. 121.
“The first modern structure," says Mr. Hope, “that , bines these accessions with the general form of the church. attracted my attention was St. Peter's, that splendid basilica, lastead of describing its whole cycluid on the vacant air, built over the tomb of the prince of the Apostles, in the the cupola is more than half hidden by the front; a front capital of Christenilom, at the expense of all the Catholic at variance with the body, confounding two orders in one, part of Europe, which took more than a century to finish, debased by a gaping altic, and encumbered with colossal was fabricated out of the spoil of the most splendid ancient apostles. One immense Corinthian goes round the whole edifices that remained, and is the most gigantic and most edifice in pilasters, which, meeting a thousand little breaks superb structure that the modern world can boast, or that is and projections, are coupled and clustered on the way, ever likely to rise in it.
parted by windows and niches, and overtopped by a meagre " In the way to it I passed over the bridge of St. Angelo, attie. Yet the general mass grows magnificently out, in decorated with statues by Bernini, that look, from the dis- spite of the hideous vestry which interrupts it on one side, tortion of their limbs, and the tlutter of their draperies, as and the palace which denies it a point of view on the if caught in a whirlwind; and by that still more imposing other." mass, once the tomb of Adrian, now the citadel of Rome, The main front of St. Peter's must be examined from the where Belisarius defended himself against the Goths, by area which this colonnade encloses. The common remark throwing down upon them the marble statues that adorned is that this front is more that of a palace than that of a its numerous zones.
church; it is 160 feet high and 396 wide. It consists of “ From that point a noble avenue should lead to the two stories and an attic, with nine windows to each, and place of St. Peter's, in order to complete its magnificence-nine heavy balconies awkwardly intersecting the Corinthian a shabby street forms the approach. When, however, the columns and pilasters at half of their height. The pillars circular colonnade, the central obelisk, the two foaming foun- of the front are 88 feet in height, including the base and tains, casting day and night, without ceasing, a vast stream capital, and eight feet in diameter; yet the whole front looks into the air, and at the further end of a gradually ascending much smaller than it really is. Mr. Woods seeks the square, the immense façarle, and the proud dome of St. causes of this apparent diminution in the composition of the Peter's suddenly opens upon the sight, all former impres- front itself, as well as in other circumstances.' The breaks sions vanish, and admiration only remains. But when this of the entablature have the effect of reducing the columns again begins to cool, one smiles at the Egyptian obelisk and pilasters into ornaments, “ and one cannot imagine," as carrying the Christian cross; one regrets its pedestal, too he says, “mere ornaments of such gigantic dimensions.' narrow for the spread of its base; one condemns in the Another cause is the division of the height into three stories, Church its front so much broken by partial projections, its and from this arises the greater similitude which it bears pediment standing on a base too narrow, and an expanse to a palace than to a church. “An enormous palace is too small, and rendered evidently useless by the ponderous grand; but still the imagination is conducted towards the attic that rises behind it, and crushes the façade to which usual appearances of human life." The dimensions of an it was intended to give elevation.
ordinary palace form the standard by which a spectator “Contemplating those columns of nearly nine feet in
estimates the dimensions of a front which inevitably excites diameter, but which, formed of a masonry of small stones, in his mind the idea of a palace; the stories form a scale only look, on a near approach, like small turrets, one cannot by which he measures the whole height, and although the help casting a lingering look back on the portico of the judgment to which he is insensibly led be the result of a Pantheon, and thinking that elevation of insulated columns inisapplied proportion, still the effect is produced. “Then of granite, of one single piece, though smaller in its dimen- the attics form another story, and who wants garrets thirty sions, grander in its conceptions, and more striking in its feet high?" It is because nobody wants them that nobody effect, than these clusters of huge pillars, all reticulated can think them so high as they are; and a spectator, with joints and jammed up against a wall.
looking at the attics of the front of St. Peter's, naturally “ Undoubtedly the accessories to St. Peter's are fine; judges of their dimensions by the standard which he applies still they do not impress one like the vast areas that precede to the attics of a palace. It is from a similar cause that and lead to the imperial mosques at Constantinople, form the colonnade looks much smaller than it is,-it is useless; an intermediate space between the bustle of a city and the
“it is palpably a thing of mere ornament, not connected silence of the house of God, and prepare the devout for with or forming a part of the building, or applied to any usemeditation and for prayer." The circular colonnade in front of St. Peter's is considered such great masses thus employed."
ful purpose, and the understanding is not easily reconciled to the master-piece of Bernini. It is composed of four rows There are five entrances in the front of St. Peter's. of columns, forty feet high, and five feet in diameter, with They lead into a covered portico or vestibule, the length of a complete entablaiure; the pillars are 256 in number, and
which extends along the whole width of the front, and bethey are surmounted with 192 statues of saints, each 11 feet yond it at either end, so as to equal 468 feet; its width is in height. The area which this colonnade encloses is 728
forty feet. The true magnificence of St. Peter's, observes feet in length; its width at the broad end is 606 feet. In
Dr. Burton, begins here. Mr. Forsyth speaks in high the centre rises an Egyptian obelisk, of one unbroken piece terms of this lorty vestibule, “vaulted with gilt stuccues, of granite, to the height of 132 feet, 48 of which are occu
and paved with various marbles, lengthening on the eye by pied by the base on which it stands; and on either side of
a grand succession of doors, and niches, and statues, till it the obelisk is a large and splendid fountain.
ends in the perspective statue of Charlemagne. This is one This colonnade is a fine erection. " It is beautiful in de architectural picture which no engraving can tlatter.". The sign," says Mr. Woods, “ graceful, and even magnificent; statue of Charlemagne is equestrian ; it occupies the left yet magnificence is not its character. .: The design extremity; at the right one is a similar statue of Constanhas richness and magnificence; but it has not majesty or tine. From this vestibule five doors lead into the body of sublimity; and it is this want of majesty which makes one
the edifice. unwilling to admit its size, and communicates an appearance of uselessness." This writer expresses an opinion
DESCRIPTION OF THE INTERIOR." that the design would have been better on a smaller scale, with Corinthian columns hardly as high as the present, and
ACCORDING to Dr. Burton, the length of the interior of ornamented Corinthian entablatures. “But you will ask this church is 609 feet from wall to wall; if the thickness me, if thus enriched and adorned, would it form a suitable of the walls and the depth of the portico be included, the approach to St. Peter's ? I answer, no, nor does it now; length is 72.2 English feet. The width of the nave is 91 and the proof of this is that it looks better any way than feet, and its height to the top of the vault is 152 feet. The towards the church. It is more beautiful alone than united length of the transepts is 445 feet. Upon the floor, which with the buildmg it was meant to accompany.".
is composed of large blocks of marble of singular beauty, This want of harmony with the building itself seems to and disposed in various figures, are marked the lengths be generally admitted as the great defect of the colonnade; of some of the principal churches of Europe, as well as it was great beauty, but has evidently no business to be that of St. Peter's itself; they are given thus:where it is. How beautiful the colonnades!" exclaims St. Peter's....
St. Paul's, London Mr. Forsyth, “ How finely proportioned to the church !
Milan Cathedral How advantageous to its flat, forbidding front, which ought
St. Paul's. Rome
415 to have come forward, like the Pantheon, to meet the deco
S. Sophia, Constantinople 492
356 ration! How grand an enclosure for the piazza ! how fortunate a screen to the ignoble objects around it. But, The proportion of marble is astonishing ; much of it is advance or retire, you will find no point of view that com ancient, and the varieties are of the greatest rarity and
710 606 572
beauty. The ceiling is composed of gilt stuccoes on a white must not expect me to incur the penalties of it by attempt ground. “The chief of these stuccoes," says Forsyth, “has ing to refute it. This is the chair of St. Peter, which he already fallen a victim to the vanity of an old priest,--the occupied as universal pastor till he suffered death for late pope (Pius the Sixth), whose arms are carved, painted, Christ's sake. This fact has been so fully proved that the inlaid, cast, or hammered all over St. Peter's, had long few sectaries who deny it must be most barefaced, or a set beheld with envy the middle orb of the vault, adorned with of children, and silly children too, such as Velcinus whom the dragon and eagle of Borghese; but dreasing the imita- Rofiensis has refuted, Sebastian of France, and some tion of his own example, he curst not supplant it openly. obscure Englishmen to be found in Saunders.' Besides It therefore fell down in the dark (by accident to be sure), the danger of classing ourselves among these our unfortuand was presently replaced by the armorial puff of Bras nate countrymen, it would be lost labour to dispute the chi." Braschi the family name of Pius the Sixth. question after the arguments adduced by Bonanni. In the
The pilasters between the arches of the nare are not of first place the miracles that have been wrought by it fully marble but of stucco, their height is eighty-three feet, and attest its apostolical antiquity. Secondly, Calvin doubted in their recesses are statues of the founders of various because it was made of wood, so perishable a material. religious orders. The side-aisles are about twenty-one feet But if this were a true ground for doubt,' says the honest in width, and opposite to each arch of the nave is a chapel Bonanni, ‘the true cross and the cradle of our Saviour are recessed back from these aisles. These chapels are well made of wood, and nobody doubts about them.' It would, worthy of observation from their splendid` decorations. perhaps, have been more to his purpose to have reminded “Mosaic-work and the richest marbles are scattered about his readers, that Eusebius, who wrote in the fourth century, them with the greatest profusion, and almost all of them says that “the episcopal chair of St. James was still shown contain a specimen of that wonder of the art-pictures at Jerusalem in his time.' executed in Mosaic."
The intervals between the pillars which separate the It is the common remark that the profusion of marble and nave on either side from the aisles, are filled by twenty-four gilding in St. Peter's is destructive of that solemnity which colossal marble statues,“ representing the Fathers of the ought to prevail in a religious edifice. “Were I made pope," Church in finical attitudes, and their draperies in high says Simond, “I would signalize my taste by daubing over flutter; the very reverse of antique simplicity.” On this the variegated marbles and gilt ceiling with one uniform subject the critical observation of one of the numerous tint; the mildest and least obtrusive I could find : yet would architects of St. Peter's, and the smart reply of one of the I do this oney with a wash easily removable, that my pon- sculptors, form a standing Roman jest; “What makes tifical successor, infallible as myself, so long as he lived, your draperies fly about in this manner ?" said the one. might if he pleased restore his Basilica to its wonted finery. “The wind through the cracks in your walls !" answered I would also wall up three-fourths of the windows, and the other. “The draperies continue to fly about although cover the others with a transparent warm colour, like a no cracks are now seen except in the cupola, rent six years certain small window (the Spirito Santo) that I observed at ago (1811) by the shock of an earthquake which damaged the upper end of the nave; in hopes of bringing the Italian many other edifices, and the Coliseum in particular. This world to a proper sense of the beauty of that dim religious cupola had been secured with an iron hoop bent round it; light, so becoming a place of worship. but for wbich they but that hoop, strong as it was, has lately becn found not have not the least taste at present. I omitted to mention only broken ihrough, but riven asunder,—an ominous cirthat although the interior of St. Peter's is dazzling at first cumstance this undoubtedly; and the curious who walk in sight, with the apparently universal richness of its mate St. Peter's must look to it.' rials, yet on near inspection I observed that much of the On entering St. Peter's, every observer is astonished surface was only a brick wall, gray washed, which looks that its dimensions appear so much less than they really decidedly better than the parts covered with variegated This has been considered by some as a merit, by marbles. On my repeated visits to St. Peter's, I always others a defect. Dr. Burton calls it the principal excellence found it greater and more impressive in the evening twis of the whole; "it is the beautiful adaptation of the prolight than during the day. Strangers are much struck portions, which distinguishes this edifice from every other. with the mild temperature of St. Peter's; as much of the Accordingly there are many objects which seem small, or heat which finds its way into it during the course of an only of the common size, which are really far above it. As Italian Summer, lingers there all Winter, forming a nearly an instance of this, the two angels may be mentioned, even temperature throughout the year."
which support the fonts on the first pillars of the nare: Immediately under the domne stands the Baldacchino, or they have the appearance of representing children, but are canopy which covers the high altar, beneath which the tra- really larger than the natural size of a man. So also the dition is, that the body of St. Peter reposes. This canopy dove with an olive-branch in its mouth, which occurs so is, according to some accounts, 122 feet high; and it is a frequently in this cathedral, (being the arms of Innocent common saying that its height is equal to that of the Far- | the Tenth, Pamfili,) and forms an ornament on each of the nese palace,--one of the loftiest in Rome. It is almost | pillars of the nave, seems to be easily within reach of every cntirely of bronze, and the ornaments are chiefly gilt; person, but can with difficulty be reached by the hand of “the four pillars which support it are twisted, and in other the tallest." respects it is by no means in good taste, nor in unison with “After all the abuse," says Mr. Woods, “which has been the majestic simplicity of the rest; but from its vast size, bestowed on the building for looking little, and all the and the richness of the work, it can hardly fail to be ad absurd admiration it has obtained for this defect, the specmired." Near the Baldacchino, and against the last pillar tator must perceive at once that he is in the largest, far the of the nave, stands the statue of St. Peter, which, accord-largest room he ever saw, and if he have any sentiment in ing to the statement of a Roman antiquary, was made by the art, he must feel the strong impression of a most noble order of St. Leo, out of the bronze of the statue of Jupiter and magnificent piece of architecture:-of one, where the Capitolinus; its workmanship is extremely rude, “and richness of the material is combined with justness of pro though it is called a bronze statue," says Dr. Burton, “it portion, and where science, taste, and genius have united has much more the appearance of iron. It is the figure with riches and power to produce sublimity. For my own which is so frequently kissed by the faithful: no Roman part I was indeed on my own guard against the deception, Catholic will pass it without going through this ceremony; but it seemed to me to be impossible that any one should and the usual form is to kiss the foot two or three times, seriously believe the cupids or angels at the font to be no pressing the forehead against it between each salutation; bigger than little children, or suppose the doves mentioned some will repeat each ceremony much oftener. The right by Eustace to be of the natural size*." foot projects for this purpose, and great part of it is worn Mr. Woods, however, admits that the interior does look away by the operation; which calls to mind the words of smaller ; but instead of ascribing it to the excellence of Cicero, in his description of a statue of Hercules at Agri- the proportions, he tells us that “a great part of the secret gentum, 'that his mouth and chin were somewhat worn, lies in a single word, -disproportion." This view is supbecause in their prayers and thanksgivings they were ported by a critic in the Quarterly Review, who observes accustomed not only to worship but to kiss it.'
that upon a very little consideration it must appear a most The tribune contains the bronze chair, within which is extraordinary error to regard the apparent diminution as a said to be the identical seat used by St. Peter, and the merit. “If indeed it be owing to the proportions of St. earlier bishops of Rome. “ It would be the height of temerity," says Dr. Burton, “to question the genuineness
* “ The figures of the Evangelists,” says Mr. Mathews. “which of this chair, after what Bonanni has said upon the subject.
decorate the inside of the cupola, do not appear larger than life;
and yet the pen in St. Mark's hand is six feet long, from which we The reader may perhaps wish to see the passage, but he may calculate their real stature."
Peter's, that it appears less than it is, this must be con- | pictures; and all these individual objects and actions lost sidered as a proof, not that its proportions are exactly what under an artificial heaven, whose grandeur and whose they ought to be, but that there is something wrong about beauties delight and distract the eye. Such is the interior them; for its magnificent dimensions are generally and of this glorious edifice,—the Mall of Rome; but religious justly regarded as one fit cause of our admiration, and sentiments are perhaps the last which it inspires." therefore that must be thought a defect which conceals “ The view of the interior of St. Peter's " says Mr. Wiltheir immensity. If, on the other hand, it be a merit in liams “is perhaps, the best near the bronze statue of St. the proportions of St. Peter's that they diminish to the eye Peter. We saw it under the most striking effect, adorned its real size, then, that size must be a defect, and the ex. with the beams of the sun, playing upon its gorgeous pense and labour of producing it must have been more magnificence,-the noble dome with its various colossal than wasted. In truth, however, we doubt altogether the paintings in Mosaic, of angels, prophets, and apostles, the justness of the theory, which attributes to the general pro- latter, in the spandrils, at least twenty-five feet in height. portions of a building, unassisted by its darkness or light- In the transept of the cross are seen the noble sepulchral ness, the power of diminishing or augmenting the whole monuments of the popes, by Canova, Bernini, Michel magnitude of a building. We think the true cause of the Angelo, and others; splendid pictures in Mosaic, designed apparent diminution of St. Peter's, in part at least, may be by Raffael, Domenichino, Guercino, and Guido, scarcely the great magnitude of the numerous statues in the church. distinguishable from the finest paintings; grand columns These are, in fact, all colossal, and as our eye is accustomed of marble, porphyry, and granite, the gigantic supporters of to statues more near the size of life, they serve as a false the dome, each of which, were it hollow, would contain standard, by which we measure the ehurch in which they bundreds of people. Numerous colossal statues of saints, stand. We suspect also that statues of white marble have, in niches at least thirteen feet high; the various and prefrom their brilliancy of colour, the appearance of being cious stones which impanel the walls of the whole building; much nearer the eye than they really are, which must of the richness of the ornamented roof; the galleries from course diminish their apparent magnitude, and render the which the relics are occasionally exhibited; the great altar scale afforded them still more fallacious. The great light of Corinthian brass, by Bernini, (the height of which is of St. Peter's, especially when contrasted, as it will be not less than that of the highest palace in Rome,) with its involuntarily by all foreigners, with the gloominess of their twisted columns wreathed with olive; the hundred brazen own Gothic cathedrals, contributes to the same effect of lamps continually burning, and surrounding the tomb of reducing its seeming dimensions."
the patron saint, with its gilded bronze gate, enriched to
the utmost with various ornaments; the massive silver GENERAL APPEARANCE OF THE INTERIOR.
lamps; the hangings of crimson silk; the chair of St. “ A NOISY school for children in one corner; a sermon Peter, supported by two popes, statues of great magnitude ; preached to a moveable audience at another; a concert in the pavement, composed of the most rare and curious this chapel; a ceremony half interrupted by the distant marbles, of beautiful workmanship; the statue of St. Peter, sounds of the same music in another quarter; a ceaseless with a constant succession of priests, and persons of all crowd sauntering along the nave, and circulating through descriptions kissing his foot ;-form a whole not to be all the aisles; listeners and gazers walking, sitting, kneel- paralleled on earth : especially when seen as I saw it, with ing; some rubbing their foreheads against the worn toes of the sun's beams darting through the lofty windows of the the bronze St. Peter, others smiling at them; confessors in dome, throwing all into mysterious light, tipping the gilded boxes absolving penitents; laquais de place expounding and plated ornaments, and giving additional richness to
the colours of the Mosaic paintings, and to the burnished grace of the great Saviour and benefactor have carried their silver lamps, ihích sparkled like little constellations, while ineffable consolations to my heart ; and I have longed for the effect of all was heightened by the sound of the organ the wings of a dove, that I might fly away and be for ever at vespers, swelling in noies of triumph, then dying upon at rest. The next hour, the scene has been wholly changed. the ear, and sinking into the soul; the clear melodious I have seen the multitude kiss the image which was that tones of the human voice, too, filling up the pauses of the of Jupiter, and is that of St. Peter; I have heard the organ, diffusing a deeper solemnity ilirough this great addresses to God in a language which the people cannot temple, and making us feel an involuntary acknowledge- understand; I have considered the repugnance of the ment to God, who had gifted man with such sublinte evil government to education ; the jealousy with which the dif. ceptions."
lusion of the Scriptures is regarded ; and all the previous The inside of St. Peter's has fewer faults than the out enchantinent has vanished froin my mind I have been side. “One is astonished," says Mr. Hope, "to find so compelled to turn from the magnificence of art, from the much splendour, and even glitter, united with slich an air beauty of sculpture, from the lofty aspirations of an outward of repose, of majesty, and of quiet. There is a serenity of edifice, from the balmy breath of a Nagrant atmosphere, look, and an equability of temperature in this vast edifice, from the fine emblems of heaven and eternity, to the ap which throws over all its parts an inexpressible charm; palling consideration, that the beams of truth have feebly and in many of its finishings, by peeuliai good luck, hare irradiated these walls: that the chillness of a moral death been avoided a number of blemishes in architecture, that reigns eternally within them; that the very structure were in Ligh voglie, at the time it was finished. One won which had given the foriner enchantment to my senses and ders, for instance, how its ceiling should have escaped | my heart, owes its existence to the ambition and despotism allegorical paintings. Bernini, however, who had the worst of human crime, and that in very truth), these magnificent taste of any man who ever acquired the reputation of a buildings are, in the words of an energetic writer, as trigreat artist, was still in time to exhibit some of his wretched ) umphal arches, erected in memorial of the extermination of conceits. Treating the adorning of the first church of that truth, which was given to be the light of the world and Christendom in the same tawdry liippant style as he would the life of men!' How fearful is the consideration, that all have done that of a temporary stage, he contrived not only the best faculties of the wind and the hand have thus been to introduce at one end of the restibule a theatrical exhibi seized by a foreign force, and made instrumental against tion of Constantine starting at the vision of the cross, but the happiness of their possessors, and against the glory and to place in the central point of the church a transparency authority of Him who called them into existence. of the Holy Ghost, surrounded by a glory of rays of plaster | exclaiins another Writer, "we could imagine a inowentary gilt. Yet such is the immensity and splendour of St. visit from Him, who once entered a fabrie of sacred denoPeter's that this defect and that of the twisted columns of mination with a scourge, because it was made the resort of the altar-piece, and a hundred others, are absorbed in the a common traffic, --with what aspect and voice, with what galaxy of beauties with which they are mingled.
infliction, but the rebuke with tlames of fire,' would be Yet has not St. Peter's, among all its magnificence, have entered this mart of iniquity, assuming the name of abore one or two excellent works of art. Michel Angelobis sanctuary, where the traffic is in the delusions, 'crimes, has leit his name on a small and pitiful Pied: Algardi and the souls of men. It was even as if, to use the prophet's has intrusted his celebrity to an immense bas-relief which language, the very • stone cried out of the wall,' and the imitates a painting, and consequently fails in its ettect; beain out of the timber answered it' in denunciation ; for and on every side you see yorgeous inural invnuments, a portion of the means of building was obtained as the price which being neither mere decorations of walls, nor positive of dispensations and parduns.” sarcophagi, encroaching too much for the former, and too little detached and fanciful for the latter, have not the imposing appearance of the most uncouth Gothic tomb.
The dome, the vast and wondrous dome, Among these, however, that of Paul the Third, by Gugli
To which Diana's marvel was a cell. elmo della Porta is much spoken of, and that of Pope It is usually said to have been the boast of Michel Angelo Rezzonico by Canova deservedly admired. To judge of that he would elevate the Pantheon in the air. “Whatever the size of this enormous pile, two hundred feet longer, merit may attach to this idea, is certainly due to Braand a hundied feet higher, than St. Paul's, one should mante, since the cupola designed by him was certainly in ascend the cupola, and look down upon the inside. It is pendentive, while that of Brunelleschi, at Florence, bears here that, suspended over an immense abyss, not hollowed perpendicularly on its foundations. Perhaps to put it upon out by the potent hand of nature, but formed by the slow stilts prould have been a more correct expression, and it is manual operation of man, that man himself looks like an certainly better on the ground." “ To be convinced of this," insect creeping within his own work."
says Mr. Woods, “it is only necessary to mount into the The feelings excited by this edifice in a religious mind gallery, and observe how much superior it appears in size will be of a very mixed character, and at times of a ten and beauty than when seen from below." deney most painful. The vastness, the symmetry, the The dome of St. Peter's is double,-that is to say, there beauty and lightness, of the architecture, impart to it - a are in fact two domes, an inner and an outer one; between character of loftiness and perpetuity,” perhaps unequalled the two is the staircase leading to the summit. The diaby any other edifice; yet to some it may seem the "presence meter of the internal dome is 140 feet, of the external dome, chamber of the monarch of the world, rather than the scene 195 feet. From the cornice immediately above the pillars which a sinner would select in order to meet his God." to the aperture of the lantern the distance is 170 feet, from “ From this temple of high beauty and exquisite skill,” to thence to the top of the cross, 110 feet; the height of the use the words of an eloquent writer, “have any waters supporting piers themselves, is 178 feet, so that the total issued forth to heal the sickly places of the moral wilder- i elevation of the top of the cross above the pavement of the ness ? Alas! is it not here that the slumbers of the soul church is 458 fect. are the most entire,--that the despotism of ignorance is the Much alarm has been felt at different times for the stamost cruel,-that the degradation of the intellect is lowest, bility of the cupola of St. Peter's. Towards the end of the and the darkness of the heart the most unbroken and pro- seventeenth century it was reported that the dome was found? Is it not here that the deep warning falls the about to give way, but on being examined it was found that loudest upon the startled ear? • Woe unto thée Chorazin! there was no cause for reasonable alarm. In 1742 the woe unto thee Bethsaida! for if the mighty works which report again prevailed; mathematicians and architects were done in thee had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they were called in, and gave contlieting opinions. There are would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. now several bands of iron in the cupola; two were affixed Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre when it was at first raised. There are cracks all round the and Sirion in the day of judgment than for thee." drun, and according to Mr. Woods, they denote suine en
" How perfect a contrast of feeling," exclaims the same largement in that part from the expansion of the dome. writer, “have I experienced sometimes, when standing “ But, in spite of all the iron ties, the cracks in the buiwithin that majestic edifice of St. Peter's! This hour, the tresses are the most important, and from their direction, quietness, the warmth, the beauty, the fragrance, the light, almost uniformly outward and downsard, indicate a settlethe solitude, the vastness of the scene, hare placed me in ment of the whole drum upon the pendentives, while the an element with which earth has been scarcely connected. columns, resting upon the direct arches of the nave, have I have felt detached from all human and immediate in retained, or nearly retained, their position. The great piers terests. The presence of God has cheered my spirit, and have therefore probably gone outward, and when in the united me to all the lofty objects of eternity. The love and building, by bringing my eye carefully, so as to compare