Brunelleschi’s dome and the Greek Pantheon

“Although Brunelleschi never duplicated classical features, he borrowed ideas from the ancient ruins and incorporated them into the desighn of his dome” (1). When a revival of classical styles became popular, new edifices in the classical style were built alongside or added to buildings of older styles. This is how the renaissance revived the classical past.

The Ancient Greek Pantheon has a long history and has undergone extensive damage and restoration. The Greek Pantheon is divided into two distinct architectural sections, having height and diameter of equal dimensions. At the top of the dome is an opening, through this opening is the only way external light may enter.

The Ancient Greek Pantheon used heavier material at the bottom and lighter materials at the top, this produced a self-buttressing system. The dome of the Ancient Greek Pantheon was heavy and was made out of solid concrete. It is the largest non reinforced concrete dome. The gothic masons that worked on the Ancient Greek Pantheon “built with pointed arches to create vaults that were reinforced with ribs” (2). Also during the time when the Ancient Greek Pantheon was constructed the masons used tall granite columns. This type of column was used in a lot of classical styles.

In looking at the measurements of the ancient greek pantheon the whole interior would fit exactly within a cube. Also the height of the oculus and the diameter of the interior circle are the same. These things show that ancient roman units of measurement are used, and almost certainly had symbolic meaning, “either numerical, geometric, or lunar” (3). The symbols here show the peoples worshipping of a higher power. The cathedrals 44 windows also have a symbolic meaning. The construction of the dome on top of the cathedral of Florence marks the begining of Renaissance architecture. The cathedral of Florence was built over many years as well. Filippo Brunelleschi traveled to Rome to study the classical construction of arches and columns, and incorporated his findings in his studies into the dome on top of the cathedral of Florence.

In the mass sacristy the chamber has inlaid wood panels by Florentine masters of the 15th. Century. The artists used linear perspective that was invented in the early 1400s. Brunelleschi’s dome was 45 meters wide, and was originally made out of wood. The usual way to build arches or domes in these times was to use scaffolding. Brunelleschi made the decision to build his dome without scaffolding, in a way that it would support itself similar to the Pantheon. Even today 600 years after it was built the dome is still the tallest building in Florence.
In conclusion you can see the same type of construction methods in both the pantheon and the dome. Such as the way both structures were built to be self supporting. Both structures are meant to be places of worship and have very specific measurements and symbols of worship and of a higher power. The pantheon and the dome are built on land that is raised higher than the land around it and both structures have stairs leading to them.

The pantheon holds the record for the largest non reinforced concrete dome and the dome of Brunelleschi is the tallest building in Florence to this day. As you can see a lot of the quality’s and ideas of the classical style is apparent in the dome and the dome was the mark of the start of the renaissance. We could admire the pantheon for all its wonder and history and for the time that it was constructed, we can admire the dome for its new outlook on the classical style either way we stand back in awe.

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