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The St Peter’s Problem

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Chapter Summary

The story of St Peter's basilica in the fifteenth century has long been told as an aspect of the pontificate of Nicholas V. In the fifteenth century, burial in Rome was an option for popes and cardinals for the first time since the thirteenth century. In a book about cardinals, focus on St Peter's might seem something of a digression as the Vatican basilica was so closely associated with the popes. The development of the cardinals' tomb type in the fifteenth century takes its place in this long and continuous tradition, as the drawings of the two della Porta tombs suggest. For a long time the tomb monument of Eugenius IV was hailed as the first of Quattrocento monument, the prototype of the Renaissance curial tomb later perfected by Andrea Bregno. The many wall tombs of the fifteenth century were doomed, even though relatively few actually contained remains.

Keywords:cardinals' tomb; della Porta; Eugenius IV; Nicholas V; pope; Rome; St Peter; Vatican basilica; wall tombs



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