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Work: The Pantheon

Architectural model

The Pantheon (architectural model)


65 cm high, 137 cm long, 95 cm wide; scala model 1:75
wood, resin
Greek and Roman


27 B. C.
45,6 m high, 54,5 m long, 43,33 m diameter cupol
Rome, Piazza della RotondaSi apre in una nuova finestra


The Pantheon was a temple dedicated to the seven planetary deities and, according to legend, was built on the site where Romulus, the founder of Rome, “ascended” to heaven during a religious ceremony. The first version of the Pantheon was built in 27 BC by Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa. After being destroyed in a fire, it was rebuilt between 118 and 124 AD, by the highly cultured Emperor Hadrian in a style reflecting his love of the Classical style.

Derived from the ancient Greek tholos form, the plan of the temple dedicated to all the Gods is basically a circle (the main body) attached to a rectangle, the pronaos or entrance to the temple whose facade features a pediment resting on sixteen monolithic grey-granite columns. On each side of the portal, a strip of wall enlivened with niches serves to join the two geometric forms smoothly together.

The building materials were travertine, tuff, bricks and the very light, volcanic pumice stone which was used to reduce the weight towards the top of the dome. Originally, the temple stood at the top of a flight of steps beside a porticoed square which was significantly lower than the present one. The temple has lost its facing so we can now admire the brickwork with its weight-distributing, relieving arches. Apart from that, the appearance of the Pantheon has not changed very much as it has suffered less at the hands of man than any other Roman construction. In 608 AD, the Emperor Phocas donated the temple to Pope Boniface IV who consecrated it for Christian worship, naming it Sancta Maria ad Martyres.

The exterior of the dome was originally covered with gilt bronze tiles applied like fish-scales. These were removed by the Eastern Emperor Constant II in 663 and replaced in 735 by a lead covering. The bronze decorations from the portico suffered a similar fate, being probably used to make cannons. The Baroque genius Bernini built a bell-tower on each side of the pediment. They became known as “the donkey’s ears” and were destroyed at the end of the nineteenth century. The Pantheon also contains the tombs of famous artists (including Raphael) and members of the former Italian royal family.