For the latest Jake’s challenge I decided to post a photo of what was Michelangelo’s concept for a piazza in Rome.

It is better that you read a Wikipedia article to get a clearer idea about what you are going to see.

The existing design of the Piazza del Campidoglio and the surrounding palazzi was created by Renaissance artist and architect Michelangelo Buonarroti in 1536–1546. At the height of his fame, he was commissioned by the Farnese Pope Paul III, who wanted a symbol of the new Rome to impress Charles V, who was expected in 1538. This offered him the opportunity to build a monumental civic plaza for a major city as well as to reestablish the grandeur of Rome. Michelangelo’s first designs for the piazza and remodeling of the surrounding palazzi date from 1536. His plan was formidably extensive. He accentuated the reversal of the classical orientation of the Capitoline, in a symbolic gesture turning Rome’s civic center to face away from the Roman Forum and instead in the direction of Papal Rome and the Christian church in the form of St. Peter’s Basilica. This full half circle turn can also be seen as Michelangelo’s desire to address the new, developing section of the city rather than the ancient ruins of the past. An equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius was to stand in the middle of the piazza set in a paved oval field. Michelangelo was required to provide a setting for the statue and to bring order to an irregular hilltop already encumbered by two crumbling medieval buildings set at an acute angle to one another. The Palazzo del Senatore was to be restored with a double outer stairway, and the campanile moved to the center axis of the palace. The Palazzo dei Conservatori was also to be restored, and a new building, the so-called Palazzo Nuovo, built at the same angle on the north side of the piazza to offset the Conservatori, creating a trapezoidal piazza. A wall and balustrade were to be built at the front of the square, giving it a firm delineation on the side facing the city. Finally, a flight of steps was to lead up to the enclosed piazza from below, further accentuating the central axis.

The sequence, Cordonata piazza and the central palazzo are the first urban introduction of the “cult of the axis” that was to occupy Italian garden plans and reach fruition in France.

Executing the design was slow: Little was actually completed in Michelangelo’s lifetime (the ‘’Cordonata’’ was not in place when Emperor Charles arrived, and the imperial party had to scramble up the slope from the Forum to view the works in progress), but work continued faithfully to his designs and the Campidoglio was completed in the 17th century, except for the paving design, which was to be finished three centuries later.

For this challenge I went with three different concepts I have of the piazza. The more natural one, the funky one, and the one I like best as it is closest to how I had pictured it.

I wonder which one of my photos Michelangelo would hate least 😉

Listen to some music while you are here …  




64 Comments on “SUNDAY POST: Concept

  1. All of your variations of the image are very nice, more than nice actually. And surprisingly enough, I like the middle one more today than I did when you showed it to me yesterday. Yup, I’m weird


    • I am really glad to hear your opinion Phil 🙂 as I trust your judgement. The first one is closest to what I saw that day, and I know you like it for all the contrasts… I am not sure why, but I needed a different sky something apocalyptical in this case and the last one.. well it is the most interesting pavement I have seen in my life with all the axial design and shapes… it captivated me and I wanted the pavement to be the central focus of the pic.


    • Anna, I appologize for not writing, though I was the last one to send you emails. I have too much going on, so depressing. My temp is high and I go to work and have no breaks and the outside temperature is -11. My coworker keeps turning off the heater….


  2. Is the first one the original? … if not close to original? I think you angled the picture very very well. You caught in the right position and proportion. And the view presents it itself for good photography set-up. I think the original will suffice.


    • 🙂 Hi Rommel …. I tried to reply to your comment some time ago, but apparently it did not go through my iphone 🙂 Thank you for your vote …. This one has been a brain stormer. I am still sticking with my third concept… 🙂


    • Hooray 😀 Two votes for my centre piece ;). Then, please, please listen to Pink Floyd’s Great gig in the sky – this editing was inspired by their song 😉


  3. I am sorry but I really do like the centre one best which has something of the fantasy lift-off about it and, if you are going to paint the sky why not do it with a decent splash of flash!


    • Oh I am so thrilled to hear you say that … oddly enough only a few ladies chose that one as their favourite :). What does that mean? That we are dreamers? Patti, I am so glad my editing paid off. Cheers!


  4. great piece, I used to live in Rome and always loved this piazza, it is of course quite unlike any other because it is so elevated, high above but between P. Vitorio Emanuel II on one side and and the long spaces of the forum, and the height and compression only add to the late Renascence drama, with hints of the Baroque, still to come. For the record i also liked your middle picture best, because for me it highlights the whole stage-set theatricality of the place. Oh, and I thought the music was a nice touch! I haven’t seen that in a blog for a while. I might take a leaf out of your book and start adding music to my posts, for a more complete experience, I think a well-chosen track really adds to some pieces. Anyway, nice post, thank you. Keep up the good work. -Arran.


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