It is about 138 feet in diameter. Sixteen separate panels in the dome depict Jesus Christ, his mother Mary, the apostles and "saints."
The exteriors of Early Christian buildings were generally plain and unadorned; the interiors, in contrast, were richly decorated with marble floors and wall slabs, frescoes, mosaics, hangings, and sumptuous altar furnishings in gold and silver
.Beneath the massive dome of the basilica is the High Altar. Here only the pope or a cardinal whom he designates in his stead can celebrate Mass. Over the altar is a canopy that Bernini fashioned, using bronze plates that Pope Urban VIII took from Rome's well-preserved Pantheon, a pagan temple. Innovative design for the enormous ribbed dome of Saint Peter's influenced dome design and construction for the next 300 years. The dome, which was completed after the death of Michelangelo, preserves the essential elements of his design but is taller and more elongated than he planned. The majestic dome of Saint Peter's Basilica in Vatican City dominates the Roman skyline.
St. Peter's Basilica also vary according to the period in which they were built, that is, by architectural style; styles of the past have often been revived and reinterpreted. As the Roman Empire stumbled to its fall, a new force appeared. Through its early centuries, Christianity had grown slowly but steadily, despite of official persecutions and rivalry. The earliest Christian meeting places were converted houses called titulae. After Christianity was legitimized, basilicas and centralized churches sprang up quickly in the next 50 years throughout the Roman Empire. The major ones were built over the most sacred shrines; the places of the crucifixion and entombment of Christ in Jerusalem and the grave of St. Peter in Rome. At Christ's tomb a circular, domed structure was built and nearby was a basilica; the two are now combined in one building. The original Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome, replaced by the present church during the Renaissance, was a huge processional basilica with projecting wings-transepts-forming a Latin cross in plan. The domed, centralized form persisted in the Byzantine and Slavic East, where medieval churches, small in scale, often took the form of five domes arranged on a Greek cross plan. In time of Renaissance, series of literary and cultural movements in the 14th, 15th, and 16th centuries. Participants studied the great civilizations of ancient Greece and Rome and came to the conclusion that their own cultural achievements rivaled those of antiquity. St.Peter's basilica in Rome has with the many images found therein, of popes, of saints, of the apostles, of Mary the mother of Jesus, of Moses and of others. A particularly striking image in that basilica is the life-size black bronze statue of Peter, before which he may see several devout Catholics waiting their turn to kiss the big toe of the right foot.
III. Different Influences
The dramatic baroque style that characterized Counter-Reformation Rome was predominant in structures of the 17th century. Sculptors and architects, such as Gianlorenzo Bernini and Francesco Borromini, changed the face of Rome during this period.
.In effect, in the 17th century