|Raphael's Plan for Saint Peter's|
|Bramante's Plan for Saint Peter's|
In the event, Raphael did not live long enough to see his designs bear fruit. He died in 1520 at only thirty-seven years of age. Peruzzi succeeded as main architect and reverted to the Bramante plan of a Greek Cross though he did retain some features—mostly the worst ones—of Rafael’s plan. Peruzzi didn’t get to see his plans put into action either. Thank heavens. Leo died the year after Raphael and was succeded by the pedantic Dutchman (yes, I know that is redundant) Cardinal Adriaan Florenszoon Boeyens who reigned as Adrian VI. Fortunately he reigned briefly. One year, eight months, and five days later he was dead; the Roman crowds, delighted to be rid of the dour Dutchman, hung a laurel wreath on the door of the papal physician to thank the doctor for not having prolonged the boredom of this tediously scholarly pope who was far more interested in Reform (which the Romans have always abhorred) than art, beauty, and the Renaissance. Non fiducia mai un papa che ha letto solo (never trust a pope who sleeps alone) as the Romans are wont to say.
In November 1523 Adrian was succeeded by Leo’s cousin, Clement VII. The Medici never slept alone, though Clements preference, unlike Leo’s, was for women. Rampant heterosexuality in a pope brings problems of its own as we will see when we hear the story of why Henry VIII didn’t get his annulment, but that is another story. Suffice it to say that Clement, like Leo, was a papal disaster. Leo triggered Luther’s break with the Church; Clement would trigger Henry VIII’s. Maybe the Romans are wrong about that sleeping alone thing, celibacy is a good idea at least for popes. But on May 6th 1527 the troops of Emperor Charles V sacked Rome. It was a debacle from which it would take Rome decades to recover. We will go into detail in a future entry, but the half-demolished old basilica, half-built new basilica was looted, graves emptied, treasures stolen, clergy, soldiers, and laity alike massacred. When Peruzzi died nine years later, construction on the basilica had not advanced. The walls stood incomplete where they stood at all, the four great piers waited for a dome that no one could engineer, and the revenues were drying up as country after country fell to a series of Reformations that snapped their ties with Rome.