Baldassarre Peruzzi, (born Jan.
15, 1481, Anciano, Republic of Siena [Italy]—died Jan. 6, 1536,
Rome), Sienese architect and painter, one of the earliest
artists to attempt illusionist architectural painting (quadratura),
the extension of real architecture into imaginary space.
Peruzzi was a contemporary of
Raphael and Donato Bramante. He began his career as a painter of
frescoes in the Cappella San Giovanni in Siena’s cathedral. His
first architectural work was the Villa Farnesina in Rome
(1509–21), and he also assisted in the fresco decoration of this
palace. On Raphael’s death, in 1520, Peruzzi was appointed one
of the architects for St. Peter’s in Rome.
Among the many edifices
attributed to Peruzzi, the most significant is probably the
Palazzo Massimo alle Colonne (begun 1532) in Rome. To meet
the challenge of an unusual site, Peruzzi curved the facade to
match the road, organizing the design of the structure for its
site rather than according to prevailing principles of central
focus and vertical linkages between floors. The atrium was
designed with reference to ancient Roman houses, as a reminder
of the family’s long Roman heritage. Once a year, on March 16,
the palace is open to the public as a commemoration of a miracle
performed on that date in 1583 by the priest who became Saint