History of the Cloister of Bramante
The Chiostro del Bramante, one of the high points of Renaissance architecture in Rome, was designed by Donato Bramante (1444-1515), who had arrived in the city after the fall from power of his employer Duke Ludovico Sforza of Milan, to become the leading architect of Pope Julius II and a fierce rival of Michelangelo.
The Chiostro, or cloister, is the central element of what was originally a monastery complex which also included the adjacent church of Santa Maria della Pace, home of Raphael’s famous Sibyls fresco. The monastery was commissioned by Cardinal Oliviero Carafa around the year 1500, and the Cardinal’s patronage is declared by the dedicatory inscription which winds around the inner facade of the cloister and by his coat of arms which adorns the columns and doors of the building.
Bramante’s design reflects typical Renaissance concepts, like harmony and equilibrium, with it’s elegant geometric lines and perfectly proportioned spaces. Renaissance ideals, which aimed at a rebirth of classical Greek and Roman aesthetics, are visible in the Chiostro’s architecture with it’s stark, well-proportioned forms and it’s sober, understated approach to decorative elements.