. ____ means canopy. One is over the high altar of St. Peter’s.

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The sculpted bronze Baroque canopy that stands over the high altar of St. Peter is called a baldachinno, or a ciborium. It is a architectural pavilion. Designed by the famous Italian sculptor Gion Lorenzo Bernini it was intended to mark in a superb way the tomb of St. Peter which lies underneath the high altar on floor level.  Situated approximately in the middle of the interior of St. Peter's Basiilica in Rome, Italy, the seat of the Pope, this baldachinno is meant to establish the dimensions of the enormous scale of the basilica contrasted to the human scale.

Bernini's baldachinno combines sculpture with architecture in a most impresssive manner as the four columns are sixty feet high that rest upon a high marble plinth.  At the tops of these columns are sculpted angels that are four times life size.  Supported is a gilded cross on a sphere, symbolic of the world that has been redeemed by Christianity.  Indeed, Bernini's work is a magnificent example of Baroque architecture and sculpture both.

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