Redefining the Dome

Throughout the history of monumental architecture, domes have been built as symbols of spiritual aspiration, political power, and civic pride. Inspired by classical examples like the Pantheon, Brunelleschi created for Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence a vault of unparalleled magnificence. With its vast interior, Brunelleschi’s masterpiece remains to this day the world’s largest masonry dome.
FERNANDO G. BAPTISTA, MATTHEW TWOMBLY, ELIZABETH SNODGRASS, AND DANIELA SANTAMARINA, NGM STAFF; KIRSTEN HUNTLEY; MARGARET NG; JOSÉ MIGUEL MAYO; WHITNEY SMITH; FANNA GEBREYESUS. PICTURE TEXT: A. R. WILLIAMS, NGM STAFF.
SOURCES: FRANK CHING (TIME LINE); LOTHAR HASELBERGER, UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA (PANTHEON); ROBERT OUSTERHOUT, UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA (HAGIA SOPHIA); RICCARDO DALLA NEGRA, UNIVERSITY OF FERRARA, ITALY (IL DUOMO); LUCA VIRGILIO, UFFICIO TECNICO DELLA FABBRICA DI SAN PIETRO (ST. PETER’S BASILICA); EBBA KOCH, UNIVERSITY OF VIENNA (TAJ MAHAL); GEORGE MICHELL (GOL GUMBAD); GORDON HIGGOTT (ST. PAUL’S CATHEDRAL); WILLIAM C. ALLEN (U.S. CAPITOL). ARTIST’S RENDERING BASED ON CONSULTATION WITH EXPERTS. MEASUREMENTS ARE APPROXIMATE.