Exhibition celebrates 500th anniversary of St. Peter’s Basilica

Source: FSSPX News


On April 18, 1506, the first stone of the new St. Peter’s Basilica was laid. Pope Julius II (1443 –1513) had commissioned its construction from the greatest architects and artists of the epoch. Bramante (1444 –1514), Michelangelo (1475 –1564), Raphael (1483 –1520) thus succeeded each other on the construction site. Over the tomb of St. Peter, in a Roman necropolis, the Emperor Constantine (272 –337) had had the first Basilica constructed. This necropolis came to light thanks to the excavations ordered by Pius XII in 1939.

 On the occasion of the 500th anniversary of St. Peter’s Basilica, an exhibition on the theme “Peter is here” (in Greek: Petros Eni) will bring together around one hundred masterpieces from the greatest museums in the world. It will be inaugurated on October 11, and will be accessible to the public in the Charlemagne wing of the Bernin colonnade until March 8 2007.

 The exhibition will offer visitors a tour in six stages: the first will relate the foundation of the Basilica; the second will be dedicated to its architects and to the craftsmen and workers who labored on the site; the third section will be dedicated to the ancient Constantinian Basilica; the fourth stage will present the ager vaticanus, the whole of the ancient quarter of the Vatican where St. Peter was martyred and buried; the fifth stage will be dedicated to the joint works of St. Peter and St. Paul. Finally, the exhibition will end with the evocation of the primacy of St. Peter and the devotion of which he has been the object down through the centuries.

 Organized by the Fabbrica di San Pietro in partnership with the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), the Centre of Studies on the Italian Renaissance at Harvard, the Vatican Apostolic Library and the Vatican Museums, the exhibition will present major or hitherto unseen pieces. Including the tunic of St. Francis of Assisi, the model in wood of the Basilica (1559 –1561) made according to the plans of Michelangelo, manuscripts, letters and other documents on the lives of those who worked on the Basilica, as well as a fragment of red wall bearing the inscription Petros Eni.