Vatican City

Dominican Saints on the colonnade of Bernini

A brief description.

On 31 July 1656 the architect Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini (07.12.1598-28.11.1680)   received the commission to build a colonnade around the piazza in front of the basilica of Saint Peter.

A colonnade was a brilliant solution to the problem of providing a monumental entrance to the basilica.  After the completion of the facade of the new church, the square in front was a sloping area irregularly surrounded by buildings. 


Bernini developed different plans, but between April 1659 and January 1660 he presented a wooden (scale-)model of his colonnade.

It is composed of four rows of columns which allow free passage in and out, but act as visual barrier to the outside except when viewed from  two points in the square where the four rows of columns line up.

Vatican City 1991, Mi 1943-1945; Sc 895-897.

On his colonnade Bernini put 133 statues of martyrs, confessors and saints. He designed 96 statues of travertine, which were made by many sculptors. Lazzaro Morelli took the lion's share. Between 1661 and 1668 he sculptured 18 statues.

Among the statues also 6 Dominican Saints.

Standing before the basilica 
at the right: statue 6: Albertus Magnus; 20: Dominic; 70: Thomas Aquinas.
At the left:  statue 7: Ludovic Bertrandus; 21: Hyacinth of Poland; 24: Rose of Lima.

Sources: Wittkower, R.: Gian Lorenzo Bernini. London, The Phaidon Press, 1955. P. 228-229.
            :  Internet and others.

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