University of Arkansas, Fayetteville


The association between the architects of the Renaissance and the philosophy of Plato has long been upheld and reiterated. However recent authors such as Alina Payne and Christine Smith have shown this scholarship to be somewhat limited and reactionary. A closer examination of Donato Bramante’s early scheme for the design of the new St. Peter’s basilica demonstrates such limitations of the singular Platonic associations that have been previously made. By studying the philosophical influences that Bramante may have been exposed to throughout his education and early career, a decidedly Aristotelian influence emerges. The design for St. Peter’s, as presented on the Parchment Plan, reveals a continuation of the employment of Aristotelian aesthetics, which are dramatically distinct and oppositional to Platonic aesthetics in the appreciation of human perception.