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Saint Peter's Basilica, Rome
(by Carlo Maderno 1556-1629)

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The Vatican 1991.  Triptyque showing a panoramic view of St. Peter's Basilica, Rome.

Italy 1956. Carlo Maderno. 400th birth anniversary.

Carlo Maderno (1556-1629), was an Italian architect, whose work prefigured the Baroque style of the 17th century. He was active during the transition from High Renaissance to Early Baroque. 

In his earliest and best design -- the elegant façade of the church of Santa Susanna in Rome (1603) -- he went beyond the then current Mannerist Style to create a massive, logical design that uses a system of carefully judged proportions to focus attention on the central portal. 

  • Italy 1956. Carlo Maderno. 400th Birth Anniversary. 

He also completed the unfinished façade (1614) of St Peter's Basilica in Rome. Between 1606 and 1612 he built the nave extension and façade of the church, which Donato Bramante had begun approximately 100 years earlier. 

His style influenced the Baroque architects Francesco Borromini and Gianlorenzo Bernini. 

  • The Vatican 1949.  Special Delivery Stamp, showing a full view of St. Peter's in Rome, with the Colonnade and the Obelisque in the center. The dome was designed by the Italian Renaissance painter Michelangelo, but was not finished in his lifetime. 

The Vatican 1949. Special delivery stamp. Full View of St. Peter's in Rome.

The Vatican 1933. Panoramic View of St. Peter's Basilica. The Vatican 1933. The Dome of St. Peter's Basilica, Rome. The Vatican 1933. Special delivery stamp. Aerial View of St. Peter's Basilica and the Vatican.

The Basilica is named after the apostle Peter, who died c. 64 AD, and was the most prominent of the 12 disciples of Jesus Christ, a leader and missionary in the early Church, and traditionally the first bishop of Rome.  The below stamp shows the statue of St. Peter by Guiseppe De Fabris (1790-1860) in front of St. Peter's Basilica.  In his right hand Peter holds a key, and in his left hand a scroll.  Behind St. Peter, on the balustrade of St. Peter's Church  (top left on the stamp) is the Apostle Philip with his attribute, The Latin Cross.  To right of Philip further two apostles.  

Scholars have had considerable difficulty in advancing from these traditions to the historical Peter, but one of the most important of the traditional elements is also one of the most historically secure: 

The Vatican 1938. Air Post Stamp, showing St. Peter.

Peter was the first to receive a revelation of the risen Jesus Christ (see 1 Corinthians 15:3; Luke 24:34). 

From this point other aspects of the picture of Peter have been developed, notably the change of his name from Simon to Peter. 

  • The Vatican 1938.  Air post stamp (considerably enlarged), showing St. Peter. 

  • The Vatican 2000.  St. Peter's Basilica with an image of the Apostle appearing behind the church.  

The Vatican 2000. St. Peter's Basilica with an image of the Apostle apparing behind the Church.

From the references to Peter in the Gospels it is known that the name he received at birth and with which he grew up was Simon. The Greek word petros ("rock") and its Aramaic equivalent, cephas, were not in use as personal names. "Peter" is thus a metaphorical or symbolic designation that came in time to function as the name of the man in question. The symbolic name in its Aramaic form may have arisen in connection with the affirmation that the resurrected Lord appeared first to Simon, that appearance and thus Simon himself serving as a sort of foundation stone of the Church. 

The Vatican 1986. Six se-tenant stamps in a composite design, showing the Vatican City and St. Peter's Cathedral. The Vatican 2000. Modern First Day Cover, cancelled 15th March 2000.

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