It’s quite an happening to be there when this happens, as it’s the time we understand better the real dimension of this colossal sculpture conceived and casted by Gianlorenzo Bernini in the 17th century.
This year I was in the archeological area when this happened but my sister Marta Marsili, a great local guide of Rome, was there, and she made the picture I show you.
The baldachin was the first commission the new pope Urban VIII gave to his young and talented friend Gianlorenzo Bernini (1598- 1680) as soon as he was elected pope in 1623. Urban the VIII was the pope to re-consecrate St Peter after 120 years of construction in 1626.
The basilica has gigantic dimensions and a main problem was to mark clearly the focus of the church to the visitor: the tomb of Peter. Peter‘s tomb lies beneath the level of the church and its position is marked by a simple white marble altar located at the intercrossing of the piers.
Bernini, with the valuable help of Francesco Castelli (later on naming himself Borromini) realized a monumental canopy aimed to remember the ones traditionally used by popes in their religious processions. It’s a matter of proportions: the baldachin is 29mt high!
It’s like having a building in the middle of the church, nevertheless it’s hard to realize its real measures because it’s perfectly proportioned with the church and the immense Michelangelo’s dome.
This is why I like to see the cleaning, and thanks Marta I can show it to you.