Donato Bramante Biography

Early Life

Donato Bramante, originally named Donato di Angelo di Pascuccio, was born in 1444 in the small town of Monte Asdrualdo, now Fermignano, in the Marche region of Italy. Very little is known about Bramante’s early life. It is believed that his father was a farmer and that early in his life Bramante may have been a painter.


Though there are few records of Bramante’s education, it’s generally believed that he received the ordinary education of a Renaissance artist. He was trained as a painter and may have studied under Piero della Francesca, an Italian painter who was a pioneer of perspective and 3D illusion in art. Bramante might also have been familiar with the work of other painters and architects, like Luciano Laurana and Francesco di Giorgio, who were working in the Duchy of Urbino.


Bramante’s works were largely influenced by the Renaissance period with a strong alignment to the principles of clarity, symmetry, and simplicity. He had an in-depth understanding of classical antiquity which played a significant part in the development of his architectural style. Bramante was also influenced by the works of his contemporaries and teachers including Leon Battista Alberti, Andrea Mantegna, Piero della Francesca, and Filippo Brunelleschi, all key figures in the Renaissance period.

Major Artworks

Bramante’s works ranged from painting to architecture. Early in his career, he worked as a painter and completed artworks such as the ‘Christ at the Column’ in the S. Maria presso S. Satiro, Milan. However, he is most renowned for his architectural designs. His first major architectural project was the design of the choir of the Church of Santa Maria presso San Satiro in Milan.

Perhaps his most recognized work was the design plan for St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Commissioned by Pope Julius II in 1503, Bramante’s design for the new basilica was revolutionary in its scale and grandeur. His design represented a return to classical architecture and created a precedent for future designs of the basilica.

Other notable works include the Sanctuary of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan and the Tempietto in the cloister of San Pietro in Montorio, Rome, which is considered a masterpiece of High Renaissance Italian architecture.

Art Movements

Bramante was an important figure in launching the High Renaissance period of architecture. This artistic movement was characterized by an emphasis on harmony, proportion, clarity, and the use of architectural orders. Bramante’s designs characterized the orderly, symmetrical, and balanced elements of the High Renaissance, which strongly contrasted the more complex and ostentatious designs of the Baroque period that followed.


Donato Bramante passed away in Rome on the 11th of March, 1514. His legacy transcended beyond his lifeline as he greatly influenced architectural designs in the Renaissance era and left prints that continue to be studied by architectural scholars. His innovative and revolutionary designs, coupled with his understanding of harmonious proportions and clarity, set a new course in Renaissance architecture and have immortalized him as one of the greatest architects of the Italian Renaissance.