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Page:History of Architecture in All Countries Vol 1.djvu/468

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Part II.

Internally a good deal has been done in modern times to destroy the simplicity of the original effect of the building; but still there is a pleasing result produced by alternating the piers with circular columns, and a lightness and elegance about the whole design that render it unrivalled in the Western world among churches of its class. This seems to have been admitted by its contemporaries as much as it is in modern times. Charlemagne at all events copied it for his own tomb at Aix-la-Chapelle, and the architects of many other circular buildings of that age appeared to have derived their inspiration from this one.

The church of San Lorenzo at Milan, had it not been so much altered in modern times, could take precedence of San Vitale in almost

303. Plan of S. Lorenzo at Milan. (From Quast, "Altchristlichen," etc.) Scale 100 ft. to 1 in.

every respect. The date of its erection is not known, though it certainly must be as early, if not earlier, than the time of Justinian. Down to the 8th century it was the cathedral of that city. It was burnt to the ground in 1071, and restored in 1119; the dome then erected fell in 1571, on which it underwent its last transformation from the hands of Martino Bassi and Pellegrini, who so disfigured its ancient details as to lead many modern inquirers to doubt whether it was really so old as it was said to be.