Artibus et Historiae no. 75 (XXXVIII)

2017, ISSN 0391-9064

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LIVIO PESTILLI - On The Crucifixion of St Peter Relief in Bramante’s Tempietto (pp. 97–125)

Contrary to a well established artistic tradition that included some expected iconographic details in scenes of the crucifixion of St Peter, such as the two metae, Roman soldiers, lay bystanders, a mound that identified the site of the martyrdom as Janiculum Hill and the inevitable upside-down cross, the marble predella that graces the altar in Bramante’s Tempietto presents a number of anomalies that have not been fully addressed by scholars. Most notably, no one has pointed out that Peter is portrayed without a cross behind him. This article analyzes this important marble relief, assesses the specific narrative goals the sculptor tried to achieve, and suggests that it was executed in the late sixteenth century, if not altogether in 1628, as part of a series of changes that took place when a new access to the crypt was created. It also assesses the suggested dating in relationship to the evolution of the Tempietto itself.

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