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St Peter’s In The Fifteenth Century

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Chapter Summary

Major changes were necessary in the fifteenth century to make the Constantinian basilica a more appropriate space for modern liturgies and enable its use by a greater number of clergy. The central focus of the basilica was not to be distracted by the many tombs and monuments of the popes. Instead, these were to be constructed at the left-hand side-the southern (liturgical north) aisle-and a cemetery made available just outside to relieve the overcrowding. Nicholas V's ideas for the transformation for St Peter's articulated the process, of the conversion of the basilica from cemetery and papal mausoleum to papal monument and chapel. This chapter explains that they were part of a much longer process of the realignment of the basilica as the symbolic nucleus of the papacy and the first church of Christendom. It considers Manfredo Tafuri's arguments, as these have a question of Alberti's role in Nicholas V's Rome.

Keywords:Alberti; basilica; fifteenth century; Manfredo Tafuri; Nicholas V; north aisle; pope; St Peter; tomb



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