Old St. Peter’s, Rome

Sketch after Maarten van Heemskerk: The Probuildings of Old St. Peter and the Vatican palace. 1533/34. Albertina, Vienna.

Sketch after Maarten van Heemskerk: The Probuildings of Old St. Peter and the Vatican palace. 1533/34. Albertina, Vienna. My sketch: PITT Artist pen, Sketchbook 15×30 cm (open), 30 min drawing time, Apr. 1st, 2013.

The Albertina at Vienna presently shows an exhibition with highlights from it’s drawings by “Bosch, Brueghel, Rubens, Rembrandt”. One of the drawings is this by Maarten van Heemskerk.

When you see this cluttering of buildings it is clear that the old cathedral of St. Peter’s had to be torn down and replaced by a better concept. The view shows what now is Piazza San Pietro, looking in the direction of the facade of St. Peter’s.

A strange fact is, that Heemskerk drew his picture when the buildings he drew must have been torn down already for two decades, as the foundations of the new St. Peter’s cathedral were laid in 1506. I should have bought the catalogue of the exhibition, maybe there I would have a clue to that…

The following map shows the situation: Circus Neronis, Old St. Peter and the new St.Peter’s cathedral in outlines. Heemskerk’s viewpoint is to the right of the plan, he looked exactly to the west.

PLAN OF OLD S. PETER'S, SHOWING ITS RELATION TO THE CIRCUS OF NERO. Source: http://deu.archinform.net/projekte/3830.htm

PLAN OF OLD S. PETER’S, SHOWING ITS RELATION TO THE CIRCUS OF NERO. Source: http://deu.archinform.net/projekte/3830.htm

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