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Alexander VII, Bernini, and the Urban Setting of the Pantheon in the Seventeenth Century

Tod A. Marder
Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians
Vol. 50, No. 3 (Sep., 1991), pp. 273-292
DOI: 10.2307/990615
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/990615
Page Count: 20
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Alexander VII, Bernini, and the Urban Setting of the Pantheon in the Seventeenth Century
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Abstract

A review of the projects and building activities for systematizing the Piazza della Rotonda in Rome during the pontificate of Alexander VII Chigi (1655-1667) is the point of departure for reconsidering the respective roles of the pope, Bernini, and other papal advisors in that enterprise. Although Bernini is generally credited as the architect of the project, the evidence for this conclusion is slim. A study of the entire enterprise, with the help of documents, sources, and drawings, makes clear that the operation had no mastermind: Bernini's role in planning the urban setting for the Pantheon was limited; and, while others in the papal court may have played a significant part in the episode, Alexander VII must have provided the principal impetus for the schemes.

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