of St. Peter's
by Carlo Maderno, 1608-1614
116m wide, 53m high
The facade of
St. Peter's during a canonization
10, 1608 the first stone was laid and on July 21, 1612 most of the
work was completed. It took another two years for the ornamentattion.
(1m high) states: "Paul V Borghese, Roman, Pontiff, in the
year 1612, the seventh of his pontificate, [erected] in honour of
the Prince of Apostles".
From the central
balcony, called the Loggia of the Blessings, the new pope is announced
with "Habemus Papum", and gives the Urbi et Orbi blessing.
The relief under the balcony, by Buonvicino, represents Christ giving
the keys to St. Peter.
Above the basic
structure is an attic, with eight square windows decorated with
small pilasters, surmounted by a balustrade and 13 statues in travertine.
The statues on the balustrade represent Christ the Redeemer (19
feet high), St. John the Baptist and 11 Apostles. St. Mathias is
included because he is associated with the other "Eleven"
in bearing witness to Christ's Resurrection
Works On The Facade of St. Peter's Basilica
Carlo Maderno started to build the facade, he was bound to
the already existing Michelangelo's wings. He just put the
attic all around the building, as planned by Michelangelo.
That creation looks mighty and dynamic along the west side
of the Basilica but is disharmonious in the facade. For this
reason, at the far sides of the facade, Maderno planned two
bell towers which lightened and soared the building. In 1621,
at the death of Paul V, the ground subsided and the building
of the two bell towers had to be stopped.
Bernini tried to erect the bell towers again, but had to demolish
the left-hand side bell tower because of cracks in the facade.
Only the bases of the bell towers remain, two archways at
the sides of the facade that seem to form part of it while
they should have been separated. This was remedied in 1790
by the installation of two clocks designed by Giuseppe Valadier.
gigantic columns of the facade are almost 10ft wide and 90
of the facade and the 13 statues, begun in April 1985, was
concluded on November 30, 1986. The original copper cross
(1613) in the arms of the statue of the Redeemer, which was
replaced by a new one during the work, was given to the Knights
of Columbus in recognition of their support for the restoration.