Belvedere (bĕlˈvədēr, Ital. bālvādĕˈrā) [key], court of the Vatican named after a villa built (1485–87) for Innocent VIII. The villa was decorated with frescoes by Pinturicchio and others; a chapel painted by Mantegna was demolished when the villa was made part of the Museo Pio-Clementino at the end of the 18th cent. The Belvedere court, connecting the villa and the Vatican, was designed (1503–4) by Bramante for Julius II to include an architectural garden, a permanent theater, a museum building, and a statue court. The Laocoön, discovered in 1506, was placed in the statue court; in 1511 the Apollo Belvedere (see under Apollo, in Greek religion) was installed in a special niche. When Bramante died in 1514, only a portion of the Belvedere was completed; many modifications were made under a succession of architects including Giuliano Sangallo, Raphael, Peruzzi, and Antonio Sangallo. Now a museum, the Belvedere still contains the Laocoön and the Apollo as well as other rare works of classical antiquity.

See study by J. S. Ackerman (1954).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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