500th ANNIVERSARY OF THE DEATH OF BRAMANTE

500th ANNIVERSARY OF THE DEATH OF BRAMANTE  

This year marks the 500th anniversary of the death of Bramante, the Italian architect and painter who is considered one of the greatest artists of the Renaissance. The Philatelic and Numismatic Office will celebrate the occasion with the issue of a postage miniature sheet featuring the spiral staircase he designed for the Octagonal Courtyard of the Belvedere (Vatican City). Very little is known about his early formation, although when he was very young, he studied in Urbino where he was able to closely admire artists such as Piero della Francesca, Paolo Uccello, Mantegna and Melozzo da Forlì. After a brief time in Bergamo, he went to Milan where both as an architect and a painter he carried out numerous works in the court of Ludovico Sforza (il Moro). Regarding his activity as a painter, we have only a few frescoes remaining, while instead we have lasting testimonies of his architectural works he designed both in Milan (Santa Maria presso San Satiro, Basilica of Sant’Ambrogio, Santa Maria delle Grazie) as well as in the territory of the duchy (Duomo di Pavia). After the fall of the Sforza in 1499, he moved to Rome where he immediately obtained important commissions and could work in an intellectual and artistic environment which permeated and elevated his art. His works include, the cloister of Santa Maria della Pace, the Tempietto of San Pietro in Montorio and the Courtyard of the Belvedere. In 1506, Julius II appointed Bramante papal architect, assigning him numerous urban projects, including the most important one of tearing down and rebuilding the ancient Constantinian Basilica of Saint Peter. His plan was unique and grandiose, but never realized given the Pope’s death in 1513 and Bramante’s own the following year. The time of his earthly journey was still long enough to make him the greatest innovator of Italian Renaissance architecture.