A huge baroque basilica with a dome by Michelangelo, crammed with works of art, standing in a Ruritanian statelet called the Vatican, home of Roman Catholicism, St Peter's is quite simply the most famous church in the world.
The story of St Peter's begins in the 1st century CE with the Hippodrome of Nero, one of two places where the Apostle Peter may have been crucified. 250 years later Constantine the Great marked the supposed site of Peter's tomb in an ancient cemetery with a great basilica. That in turn was replaced over a hundred-year period by a series of competitive renaissance and baroque Popes using the greatest artists of their day, all seeking to leave their mark on St Peter's. Here Keith Miller offers a rewarding account of a world-famous building: who built it; what it looks like and why; and how it affects the tourist or pilgrim. An intricate history, telling biography and the study of great art and architecture all play their part in a book that is a brilliant debut.
Keith Miller read history of art at Cambridge. He is a journalist, lecturer and reviewer living in London. This is his first book.
'This scholarly and fascinating book unravels the complex story of the most famous church in the world.', Sunday Telegraph
'A finely produced and stylishly written study.', Sunday Times
'St Peter's joins other outstanding titles in Profile's Wonders of the World series...Like the best guides, it makes one long to visit the place in question, armed with the book in hand.', Independent on Sunday
'Outstanding... a wry, erudite account of how the structure evolved.', Thomas Marks, Daily Telegraph
'Profile's estimableWonders of the Worldseries, this wittily assured writer investigates the structure and significance of Christianity's grandiose basilica.', Christopher Hirst, The Independent
'[E]ngaging and original work...Miller's is a wide-ranging, yet succinct account... a delight', Julian Fleming, Sunday Business Post