Donate Bramante (1444-1514) was an Italian architect, who evolved a classical style of monumental grandeur that is the embodiment of the architectural ideals of the high Renaissance. He was bom at Monte Asdruvaldo, near Urbino, and began his career in Milan. In his first important building commission, the Church of Santa Maria presso San Satiro in Milan (begun 1482), he painted an architectural fresco representing a spacious chancel that could not actually be built on the small site. Bramante's plan for Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan, providing for three apses radiating from a central cube, reflected the influence of Leonardo da Vinci and foreshadowed his central plan for St. Peter's in Rome.
The French invasion of 1499 caused Bramante to leave Milan for Rome, where for 15 years he dominated the artistic life that revolved about the papal court. In 1500 he designed the square cloister at Santa Maria della Pace, which shows the first impact of the Roman milieu on Bramante's style. His design for the Tempietto (1502) at San Pietro in Montorio, Rome, derives in a general way from the Roman Temple of the Sibyl at Tivoli but has its own elegance and concision of expression.
St. Peter's and the Vatican Palace. Bramante's two greatest projects, neither of which was executed, were plans for the rebuilding of St. Peter's and the Vatican Palace, commissioned by Pope Julius II. His design for St. Peter's comprised a large Greek cross with four smaller Greek crosses in the corners, the whole surmounted by five domes and four towers. The cornerstone was laid in 1506, but Bramante's design was later changed by Michelangelo and then by Carlo Maderno, who finished the church as a basilica on a longitudinal plan.
In the Cortile del Belvedere in the Vatican, Bramante introduced a new organizational principle, a sequence of elements ascending a single axis. Like his plan for St. Peter's, Bramante's design for the Vatican was later abandoned. He died in Rome on March 11 or April 11, 1514.